SLR 86, RoS 90

On: 25 January 2010

SLR vs RoS in Wildcard

Jeff Chan drained two dagger three-pointers down the stretch and Rain or Shine eliminated the Sta. Lucia Realtors with a 90-86 victory in their wildcard match-up last 24 January 2010 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Sol Mercado had another excellent game but those pair of clutch threes from Chan lifted the spirits of the Elasto Painters and broke the spines of the Realtors.

Their first victory in three meetings against the Realtors this conference set up the Elasto Painters to a crucial face-off against Coca-Cola or Burger King on Wednesday for the last quarterfinal berth.

"We're just lucky we hit our shots. Eddie (Laure) hit a big shot in the end. But this win is really a team effort. Everybody stepped up," said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia afterwards.

Mercado poured a team-high 18 points, 14 of them coming in the second and third quarters as As Rain or Shine dictated the tempo of the game.

The Elasto Painters, who won just four games in the elims compared to 10 by Sta. Lucia, made just 40 percent of its shots in the first half but held the Realtors to a lower 33 percent to return to their locker room at the break holding on to a 40-34 lead.

Ryan Arana (13 points, five assists) and Mark Telan (nine points, three shotblocks) made their presence felt in the third quarter as the Elasto Painters held off repeated rallies by the Realtors and stayed ahead, 66-62, at the end of the period.

The setback was a painful one for the Realtors, who finished the eliminations just a win shy of a playoff for an outright quarterfinal berth.

It also looked like Sta. Lucia had seized momentum when it opened the fourth with three successive 3-pointers -- two from rookie Josh Urbiztondo -- and grabbed a 73-69 lead.

But the Elasto Painters were not about to fold up – and not a game this important.

A three-pointer by Mike Hrabak tied the count at 74-74 with 5:59 to play. In the ensuing play, Urbiztondo, who finished with 20 points, knocked another trey to put the Realtors back in front, 18 seconds later.

But the Realtors couldn't hold on to it, missing their next five attempts from the floor.

And Rain or Shine cashed in on the opportunity.

Chan's second three of the night tied the count at 77-77 with 4:39 to go. Then Eddie Laure hit an eight-footer from the left side for a two-point lead before Chan drained his last trey to give his team an 82-77 lead with 3:19 remaining.

Sta. Lucia never recovered from there although it provided a scare in the closing seconds when Urbiztondo made a long three over Mercado to pull the Realtors within 86-88 with 31 seconds left.

Rain or Shine withstood the last threat as Laure hit a floater in the lane over Marlou Aquino to stretch their lead to four with 11 seconds to play.

Kelly Williams led all scorers with 27 points but he struggled in the second half, going just 3 for 8 from the field.

Marlou Aquino, Sta. Lucia's veteran center, had a big night with 16 points, Joseph Yeo added 12 but starting guard Ryan Reyes managed just four points, going into foul trouble early that kept him on the bench on crucial stretches.

It was the first time since the 2008 Fiesta Conference the ninth seed booted out the No. 6-ranked squad in the wildcard plays when ironically it was Sta. Lucia who eliminated Alaska back then. (DBC)

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