2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup: Rain or Shine and Meralco win big in the home stretch!

The locals came up big for both Rain or Shine and Meralco last night as the Painters and Bolts disposed of their foes to gain some ground in the race for ideal quarterfinal spots!

Jervy Cruz (top) and Jared Dillinger (bottom) came up big for their
respective teams in action from the Commish Cup last night.

In the opener, Rain or Shine overcame Air 21, 87-82. Balance was the name of the game again for the Painters, as 8 players scored 7 or more points, with undersized big man Jervy Cruz leading the way. The former UST Growling Tiger shot a flawless 6/6 from the field on his way to 13 points in just 16 minutes. Gilas Pilipinas hopeful Paul Lee was the only other ROS player in double-digits with a dozen markers, but, as a team, the Painters shot much better from the field compared to their foes. ROS made 43% of their field goals, while Air 21 connected on less than 35%.

Compounding the Express’ shooting woes was the poor form of wingmen Mac Cardona and Joseph Yeo. Usually quite reliable from the perimeter, both Yeo and Cardona paired up to shoot 0/8 from beyond the arc. Cardona also fared miserably from the 2-point area, making just 2 of his 7 attempts while Yeo turned the ball over 3 times. Needless to say, the Express just couldn’t get much going from their two top wing players.

Wonderless Wayne?: Wayne Chism’s defense was quite solid in this game. He pulled down 6 defensive boards, got 2 steals, and blocked just as many shots. His offense, however, was forgettable. The former Tennessee Volunteer missed all but 2 of his 12 field goal attempts to finish with a grand total of 6 points in 28 minutes — definitely not the kind of production we’re used to seeing from supposedly top-flight imports. 

In the nightcap, Meralco pounced on San Mig Super Coffee, 88-78. Against all likelihood, the underappreciated Meralco Bolts might just be peaking at the right time. This huge win over the Mixers is Meralco’s second in a row, and, more importantly, it puts the Bolts into a secure spot right in the middle of the quarterfinal pack. This means that coach Ryan Gregorio’s crew is assured of a best-of-three affair in the next round no matter who they face, instead of the prospect of a twice-to-best disadvantage against either of the top two teams. The locals came through once again for Meralco, as Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts Jared Dillinger and Gary David combined to score 39 points. Dillinger continued his hot streak from long range, making 3 of his 4 treys, while El Granada used a variety of moves and jumpers to drop 18 markers. This is the fourth straight game David has scored 15 or more points, which is a good sign for the streaking Bolts.

Coach Tim Cone’s wards were just shells of their true selves. Both Marc Pingris and Justin Melton missed the game due to separate injuries, while import James Mays and gunner James Yap weren’t 100% (they have back issues). Still, Mays impressed with 33 points and 11 boards. One cannot doubt this guy’s heart. The wounded Mixers, though, despite putting up a good fight in the first half, just couldn’t hang with Meralco for the full 48.

Kansas Cool: Former Kansas Jayhawk Darnell Jackson had his best game so far, tallying 31 markers, 18 boards, 4 dimes, and 2 thefts. He shot 54% from the floor and 71% from the line, too. Slowly but surely, the 2008 NBA Draft pick has proven himself a worthy successor to the streaky Brian Butch. Meralco has gone 2-1 with Jackson in tow, and he looks to be the perfect compliment to the Bolts’ plethora of shooters. Whoever faces Meralco in the quarterfinals has to worry about this guy big time. 

Game Recaps by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:

RAIN OR SHINE over AIR 21, 87-82

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters turned back a late charge from the Air 21 Express to book an 87-82 victory in PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup action on Monday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win improved the Elasto Painters’ record to 4-4. They can finish the elimination round with a winning record with another victory in their last assignment on Sunday against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

“Our import’s defensive presence is enough to lift us,” said coach Yeng Guiao, paying tribute to Wayne Chism, who scored just six points in the match.

“The locals kept us in the game for the most part, when our import was not making his shots.”

Guiao remained confident in Chism despite the import’s poor offensive performance.

“I don’t think this is the way he plays,” said Guiao. “He’s a lot better in practice. It gives us hope.”

Rain or Shine was comfortably ahead, 79-66, in the final period before the Express came alive. A 14-3 run, capped by a steal and a layup from Eloy Poligrates, put Air 21 within two points, 82-80, with 23.8 seconds remaining.

But the Elasto Painters held steady down the stretch, with Paul Lee nailing two free throws and Rain or Shine forcing a turnover to seal the deal.

The Express’ record dropped to 3-5, in a tie with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in seventh and eighth places — undesirable playoff positions that come with twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.

The two teams were tied in the standings before the game, underlining how crucial the victory was for Rain or Shine.

“This is a big win for us, we’re trying to get ourselves out of seventh and eighth place,” said Guiao.

ROS 87 – Cruz 13, Lee 12, Nuyles 8, Rodriguez 8, Arana 7, Almazan 7, Tiu 7, Norwood 7, Chism 6, Chan 6, Belga 4, Tang 2, Teng 0.
AIR 82 – Witherspoon 23, Taulava 15, Poligrates 13, Anthony 9, Villanueva 9, Yeo 8, Cardona 4, Borboran 1, Ramos 0, Burtscher 0.
QS: 18-13, 43-33, 62-55, 87-82

Raymond Almazan slams it home against Meralco!

Wesley Witherspoon tests the D of ROS's Ryan Araña.

Jervy Cruz was ultra-efficient for the Painters last night.


The Meralco Bolts turned on the jets in the second half to cruise to an 88-78 victory on Monday over the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.

With the win, the Bolts finished the elimination round of the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup with a 5-4 record, assuring themselves of a spot in a best-of-three quarterfinals series.

“We wanted to put our spirit to the test against the champion team, we were rewarded by a victory because of our effort,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

After trailing by two points at halftime, Meralco went on a 16-2 run to take a 55-43 advantage in the third quarter.

San Mig Coffee were still within striking distance at 66-60 early in the final period. But the Bolts once again rattled off a 13-4 run that took the fight out of the Mixers, who lost for the fourth time in five games after winning their first three matches.

The Mixers struggled without injured stalwarts Marc Pingris (rib) and Justin Melton (hand). Import James Mays and two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap also played hurt as they nursed back injuries.

With the playoffs looming, Gregorio hopes to use the upcoming break to get ready.

“Time for us to rest and stay sharp,” said Gregorio, who added that he doesn’t have any particular preference for a matchup in the playoffs.

“You can’t really choose an opponent in the quarters. It’s best-of-three.”

MER 88 – Jackson 31, Dillinger 21, David 18, Hugnatan 6, Sena 4, Timberlake 2, Guevarra 2, Wilson 2, Hodge 2.
SMC 78 – Mays 33, Simon 13, Mallari 12, Yap 8, Devance 4, Barroca 4, Cawaling 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 0, Sangalang 0.
QS: 26-18, 39-41, 66-58, 88-78

Gary David uncorks a long tom over Alex Mallari.

Jared Dillinger continues his hot shooting for Meralco.
PJ Simon and the Mixers have been on a tailspin latelty.

Images by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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