Semis start today

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Monday, March 30, 2015


MANILA—Top seed Rain or Shine and No. 5 Meralco Bolts start their best-of-five semifinal series of the 40th PBA Commissioner’s Cup today at 7 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters leaned on a big steal by Jeff Chan in the crucial stretch to escape with a close 92-91 win over Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals on Saturday, while Meralco Bolts needed a five-minute extension before sweeping sister team Nlex Road Warriors, 91-85, last Sunday to complete the semifinal cast.

“We are just an experienced team but not talented against Meralco,” said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao, referring to their six straight semifinal appearance compared to only two for Meralco since joining the league in 2010.

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Guiao will lean on reliable import Wayne Chism, Jeff Chan, Beau Belga, Raymund Almazan, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Ryan Arana, Jonathan Uyloan, JR Quiñahan and Chris Tiu.

“It’s nice to be in the semis. We made a big jump on our improvement last year. Against Rain or Shine, we lost Jared Dillinger to injury. It hurts us a lot because Rain or Shine uses all its players which mean we have to get a very good effort from our import and local players. We know how strong they are, It’s gonna be tough for us,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.

In their only meeting in the conference, Meralco won over the Elasto Painters, 92-87, on Feb. 10, with import Josh Davis, Mike Cortez, Gary David and Cliff Hodge combining for 65 points. The 6’8 Davis also added 14 rebounds, a steal, four assists and four blocks in that game.

Black will also rely on Mark Macapagal, Sean Anthony, John Wilson and Reynel Hugnatan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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