B-MEG made sure that its sizzling start wouldn’t go to waste, holding on to a nail-biting 102-100 win over Rain or Shine for its fifth straight victory in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
James Yap had a game-high 32 points, including 19 in the first half, and Peter June Simon had the biggest shot in the game, a go-ahead three-pointer with under a minute left in the game. The win put B-MEG in a tie for third spot in the team standing with the Elasto Painters with a 7-4 win-loss mark.
“Two or three weeks ago, I knew we were playing better basketball, but I didn’t think we’ll win five straight,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone.
“The goal from the very beginning is to build the foundation. No sense of urgency to win right away. We just have to make sure we are all in the same page. There’s no short cut to win, it will only take you long.”
Simon had 16 points, Mark Barroca contributed 14 off the bench, while Josh Urbiztondo and Kerby Raymudo each had 11 for the Llamados, who erected an early 24-3 lead in the game.
Cone’s wards tried to finish off the Painters early as the Llamados delivered a quick knockout blow with that 21-point lead en route to a 30-13 first quarter lead.
But the Elasto Painters kept their composure and outscored B-MEG in the next period, 36-21, to get back in the game and trail by only two points at halftime, 51-49.
It was a see-saw battle in the second half, with Rain or Shine taking a 98-95 lead on Paul Lee’s three-pointer, with 3:25 remaining.
Marc Pingris scored under the basket and Raymundo scored after Lee’s missed three-pointer to give B-MEG a 99-98 edge with 1:46 left.
Beau Belga connected on a long two-pointer, 100-99, and could have given Rain or Shine a bigger lead after stealing the ball in the ensuing possession. But the burly big man missed the fastbreak layup, allowing Simon to make the winning three-pointer with 56.6 seconds left.
JR Quinahan missed on the next play for the Elasto Painter, but Barroca also misfired for B-MEG. With 5.7 seconds remaining, Lee had a chance to steal the win but his three-point attempt at the top of the key was way off the mark as the final buzzer sounded.
It was the second straight heartbreaking loss for Rain or Shine and the team’s third in a row.
Lee led the Elato Painters with 21 points while Ronjay Buenafe added 12, but had crucial turnovers in the fourth quarter.
B-MEG 102 – Yap J. 32, Simon 16, Barroca 14, Urbiztondo 11, Raymundo 11, Pingris 10, De Vance 3, Reavis 3, Yap R. 2, De Ocampo 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 100 – Lee 21, Buenafe 12, Matias 10, Rodriguez 9, Arana 9, Tang 8, Norwood 7, Belga 7, Chan 6, Quinahan 6, Cruz 4, Ibanes 1.
Quarterscores: 30-13, 51-49, 79-77, 102-100