Pierre Henderson-Niles carried Rain or Shine on his broad shoulders to snatch the Game 2 thriller, 98-96, Tuesday night and took a comfortable 2-0 lead against the San Miguel Beermen in their Best-of-5 semi-finals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Henderson-Niles barreled his way to a solid double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Elasto Painters, who played without coach Yeng Guiao.
The mercurial coach skipped the game to attend a debate in his home province of Pampanga in his re-election bid as first district representative.
Jericho Cruz added 16 points while Jeff Chan fired 14 markers in 50% shooting from beyond the arc.
Tyler Wilkerson waxed hot anew pouring in 35 points with 15 rebounds and 5 assists as well but still were not enough to lift the Beermen. Chris Ross had 15 points and 7 assists while June Mar Fajardo was outplayed by Niles tallying only 14 markers and 14 boards.
Marcio Lassiter, who had just 3 points and was only 1-of-7 from downtown, could have won the game and tied the series for the Beermen but his nail-biting trey didn’t beat the buzzer. Television replay revealed that the ball was still on his hands as time expired.
The Elasto Painters will go for the sweep against the Beermen on Thursday night and a a return trip to the Commissioner’s Cup Finals where they lost to the Tropang TNT last season.
On the other hand, the Beermen will try to duplicate their miraculous run last conference where they came back from 0-3 down to win the Philippine Cup. – By Byran John Ulanday