Lee reprised his explosive debut with a game-high 19 points—including the deciding free throws with 57 seconds left—as the Elasto Painters slipped past Powerade, 96-93, for a share of the early lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday night here at the Ynares Center.
“I consider this a good sign for the team that we’re winning close games,” said Guiao, a week after the Painters escaped crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra, 94-93, in the inaugural game.
“Our tendency before was to collapse in the endgame. At least in two games, we’ve proven that we can win in the endgame.”
In the second game, Barangay Ginebra spoiled Joel Banal’s coaching debut with Alaska as the Kings rolled to an 83-72 decision for their first win in two games.
KG Canaleta had eight of his team-high 17 points in the Kings’ third-quarter breakaway and Mark Caguioa also fired 16 markers.
“It wasn’t as easy as it seems. Alaska is a strong team, they just lost their coach,” Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen said of the Aces, who are starting a new chapter with Banal following the transfer of long-time mentor Time Cone to B-Meg.
“It just so happened that we caught them when they’re still trying to get accustomed to each other.”
The Painters, who joined idle Petron on top with a 2-0 record, got away from another tight contest that featured 18 deadlocks and 21 lead changes.
Jeff Chan shared scoring honors with 19 markers, but also shone on the defensive end with a block on Gary David’s potential game-tying triple in the dwindling seconds.
“We were making the stops at the right time, that was the important factor for us in winning the game,” said Guiao.
Gabe Norwood also had a solid outing of 11 points, 10 boards and six of the Painters’ 14 assists in the match that drew a conference-high crowd of 10,121.
Lee, who debuted with game-highs of 21 points and eight assists against Ginebra, also grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists.
“Paul Lee played a good game again,” said Guiao of this season’s No. 2 overall draft pick.
“I think he made one or two misjudgments, but that’s part of him being a young player. As I said, he’s a special player and we’re trying to give him all the confidence he needs. At the same time, he’s jelling well with our other players.”
Doug Kramer buried 16 points to pace the Tigers, who slipped to a 1-1 record.
Celino Cruz also had a shot at pushing the Tigers within a point, but missed two free throws with four seconds remaining.
JV Casio, the former Smart Gilas standout who emerged as this year’s top draft pick, has yet to suit up for the Tigers due to a knee injury.
RAIN OR SHINE 96—Lee 19, Chan 19, Norwood 11, Araña 10, Quiñahan 9, Rodriguez 8, Belga 7, Buenafe 6, Ibañes 3, Cruz 2, Matias 2.
POWERADE 93—Kramer 16, David 14, Anthony 13, Lingganay 12, Lassiter 12, Calimag 11, Cruz 7, Martinez 3, Adducul 3, Crisano 2, Allera 0, Antonio 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 40-39, 68-65, 96-93
GINEBRA 83—Canaleta 17, Caguioa 16, Cortez 12, Tubid 7, Helterbrand 7, Intal 6, Wilson W. 6, Villanueva 6, Labagala 4, Mamaril 2, Cervantes 0, Wilson J. 0.
ALASKA 72—Baracael 20, Thoss 16, Dela Cruz 8, Baguio 7, Tenorio 6, Cablay 5, Custodio 4, Reyes 4, Salamat 2, Eman 0.
Quarters: 17-20, 34-32, 61-51, 83-72