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Rain or Shine sweeps Bahrain trip on Lee heroics

(Philstar.com) - October 3, 2015 - 4:14am

MANILA, Philippines -- Rain or Shine weathered a furious fourth-quarter rally by Bahrain national squad to hammer out a 71-60 victory and complete a two-game sweep of the 2015 Bahrain-Philippines Goodwill Games Friday night before a pro-Filipino crowd at the Zain Arena in Um Al Hassam in Bahrain.

Resident gunner Paul Lee, who scored just two points up until that point, stepped up big when it mattered most, knocking down a crucial three-point basket with just over a minute to go to douse cold water on the Bahrainis’ endgame uprising.

The ‘Lee-thal Weapon’ finished the game with five points.

Unlike its opening match in the brief goodwill series where Rain or Shine had an easy time against club team Nuwaidrat, which it clobbered, 98-47, Bahrain proved to be a tough nut to crack after unleashing a 10-0 run late in the game.

Rugged plays marked the first half with a Bahraini engaging wide-bodied Rain or Shine big man JR Quinahan in a physical skirmish.

“Nung una kasi, they (Bahrainis) were starting it (rugged plays). We were just playing, pero there was this one time na may isang Bahraini, he gave JR an elbow or shoving tapos binawian ni JR sa dibdib,” Cruz told Philstar.com.

Nonetheless, Cruz said they managed to play through the physicality, executing well particularly in the second half to finish the game with a flourish.

The six-foot Cruz, named to the All-Rookie team in the recent PBA Press Corps Awards Night, said they all felt like a Gilas national player with the way Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) warmly received the team before and after the game.

“Para sa akin, parang nasa Pilipinas ka lang din kasi halos lahat ng nanonood sa amin mga Pilipino so parang kami ang may homecourt,” said a beaming former Adamson Falcon.

“Although di naman to the point na Gilas level, pero, siyempre kapag sa ibang bansa, sabik sila (OFWs) makita ang mga (Filipino) players,” added Cruz, whose team leaves for Kuwait Monday to play against a club team in the tiny Gulf nation.

Meantime, the Elasto Painters, who are using the goodwill games in Bahrain as part of its preparation for the upcoming PBA season, drew a game-high 15 points from Cruz.

Quinahan added nine, rookie Fil-Nigerian Maverick Ahanmishi had seven, while Beau Belga, Jeric Teng and freshman Don Trollano chipped in six points apiece.

Forward Mohammed Quwayed, who played for Bahrain in the 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila, provided fireworks for the hosts with 13 points, former Asian Games campaigner Kadhem Majed added nine while Mohammed Ameer chipped in eight off the bench.

The Bahrainis are also using the brief tournament to prepare themselves for the GCC (Gulf Council Commission) Games.

ACIRC ADAMSON FALCON ASIAN GAMES BAHRAIN BAHRAIN-PHILIPPINES GOODWILL GAMES FRIDAY BAHRAINI BAHRAINIS BEAU BELGA CRUZ DON TROLLANO ELASTO PAINTERS
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