Rain or Shine proved steadier in the clutch and turned back Meralco, 88-85, late in their PBA Philippine Cup encounter on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
James Yap scored 14 points, while Ed Daquioag added 12 points for the Elasto Painters as they finished the elimination round with an 8-3 win-loss record to stay in contention for a twice-to-beat advantage.
Meralco was able to set themselves up for one last shot at winning it after Beau Belga split his free throws to give the Elasto Painters an 87-85 lead with six seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on the other end as Baser Amer muffed a triple that would have given them the lead.
Belga later put the finishing touches by going 1-for-2 again at the line with under a second left.
Nico Salva scored 18 points to lead the Bolts, who’ll have to win their last two games to give themselves a chance at gaining one of the lower quarterfinals seats. Reynel Hugnatan added 16.
Rain or Shine held a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter after a triple by Yap gave them a 76-67 lead, but the Bolts slowly chipped away and knotted it at 83-all after Hugnatan sank a floater with 1:17 left.
Hugnatan and Maverick Ahanmisi later exchanged baskets with under a minute left, but the Bolts unluckily sent Gabe Norwood to the line and watched him bury the first of the team’s last three free throws in the final 10 seconds.
RAIN OR SHINE (88) – Yap 14, Daquioag 12, Mocon 10, Ahanmisi 10, Torres 9, Rosales 8, Nambatac 7, Borboran 6, Norwood 5, Belga4, Ponferada 3.
MERALCO (85) – Salva 18, Hugnatan 16, Faundo 10, Amer 10, Hodge 8, Newsome 7, Canaleta 7, Jackson 7, Quinto 2, Pinto 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 20-26, 44-35, 66-65, 88-85.