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Coke Cola vs Rain Or Shine - 7-7-10 ( Part 2 )

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Uploaded on Jul 7, 2010

Painters oust Tigers to grab last q'finals seat
07 Jul 2010
Rain or Shine continued to be the thorn on Coca-Cola's side.

Jervy Cruz played the best game of his rookie season and Solomon Mercado exploded when needed most as the Elasto Painters bucked the absence of fouled-out import Rod Nealy in the homestretch to eliminate the Tigers for the second straight conference, 98-93, Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The come-from-behind win shoved Rain or Shine into the quarterfinals of the PBA Fiesta Conference, which begins Friday. The Elasto Painters play no. 3 seed Derby Ace Llamados in Game 1 of their best-of-five series.

The Elasto Painters trailed by as many as 12 in the knockout, wildcard game and played catch-up ball three-fourths of the way.

But thanks to the fourth-quarter heroics of both Cruz and Mercado, the Welbest franchise is in the quarterfinals for the fourth straight conference.

The Elasto Painters also beat the Tigers, 99-84, in a similar do-or-die game for the last quarterfinals berth of the Philippine Cup.

"I just told the boys not to stop on playing, that there will come a stretch in the game when breaks will finally go our way," said coach Caloy Garcia. "And good thing Sol exploded for us in the endgame."

Mercado, who almost missed the knockout match after his father suffered a heart attack in the U.S., topscored for 19 markers, including five straight. He had a three-pointer that broke a 90-90 standoff, and gave Rain or Shine its first taste of the lead, 93-90, in the final 1:33 mark.

By the time he left the court after committing his sixth personal foul, the Elasto Painters were already in control of the highly-emotional encounter, 95-91, with 27 seconds left.

Gabe Norwood had a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Nealy added 15, but fouled out at the 2:30 mark of the fourth and Rain or Shine trailing, 86-88.

Cruz, the team's first-round overall pick this season, finished with 13 and scored six in the fourth that kept the Elasto Painters within striking distance of the Tigers.

It was another heartbreaking loss for Coca-Cola, which got 29 points each from import John Williamson and Gary David, who earlier engaged Mercado in a verbal tussle.

After taking control for the most part, the Tigers collapsed just when pressure began to mount, scoring only three points after Nealy fouled out.

Asi Taulava's inside foray brought the Tigers to within 93-95 in the final 23 seconds before Jeff Chan split his free throws to make it a three-point, Rain or Shine lead.

But Mark Macapagal and Williamson missed two straight tries from rainbow country to finally seal the fate of Coca-Cola.

Turnovers and poor field goal shooting grounded the Elasto Painters early on, trailing by as many as 31-19, after a cutting Larry Rodriguez scored on a lay up with 8:09 to go in the second period.

It was not until Nealy, already saddled with three fouls at that point, and Mike Hrabak, hit back-to-back three-pointers as Rain or Shine finally got back on track.

The Elasto Painters cut down the deficit to as low as three, only for the Tigers to force their opponents to commit errors in four of their last five possessions as Coca-Cola preserved a 52-42 halftime lead

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