MANILA - Solomon Mercado fired nine points in overtime as Rain or Shine pulled off a 117-111 triumph over B-Meg Derby Ace to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five quarterfinal series in the 35th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 5'11" Mercado, who only had seven points in regulation, suddenly struck with successive triples in the five-minute extension to lead the Elasto Painters' victory.
They are now just a win away from making the best-of-seven semifinals against second seed San Miguel Beer.
"I think we lost control at the start of the third period, we had a good first half. But we did not give up and we came back. Through this win we got the momentum already," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
However, Garcia acknowledged they got a bit lucky they still managed to win despite losing a 16-point lead in the second quarter.
"I think we were just lucky to win this game but a win is a win. I think it was a good game for both teams," added Garcia.
Rain or Shine, which is aiming to surpass their semifinal round finish in the 2009 Fiesta Cup, also won game two, 79-69, but lost the first game, 108-102, last Friday.
Mercado went on to finish with 16 points, nine rebounds on top of 15 assists.
Ron Nealy led the Elasto Painters with 32 points, 10 rebounds, four assists in 46 minutes of action, while Jefrrey Chan settled for 22 points.
James Yap paced the Llamados with 34 points, including five triples, while Cliff Brown added 31 points and 23 rebounds.