James Yap took matters into his own hands in the clutch as he carried Rain or Shine to a 113-105 victory over NLEX in the conference opener Friday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Yap waxed hot from beyond the arc, shooting 5-of-11 from three, none bigger than his trey after breaking Bradwyn Guinto’s ankles with 40 seconds remaining to put the game away, 110-103.
The two-time MVP finished with 26 points, his most in three seasons, and three rebounds in the win.
“It’s nice to see James Yap back,” said coach Caloy Garcia. “I just hope he’ll be healthy. If he’s healthy, he’ll get back to the old James Yap.”
Shawn Taggart had 23 markers, 10 boards, four assists, and four blocks in his debut for the Elasto Painters, while Raymond Almazan had 18 points, three rebounds, and two assists in his first game back after suffering a left calf injury.
“We just told the players that we can’t have anymore excuses. The time that we had last conference should be ample time for us to jell. There’s no more excuses this time and at the end of the day, it’s a team effort.”
Rain or Shine lost hold of a 12-point lead, 59-47, after Wayne Chism eviscerated his old crew in the third period. NLEX even grabbed a 103-102 lead with a Kevin Alas trey in the final 2:13, but Gabe Norwood answered right back with an off-the-glass triple before Yap took charge.
Chism carried 27 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, whole Carlo Lastimosa added 15 markers.
RAIN OR SHINE 113 – Yap 26, Taggart 23, Almazan 18, Chan 12, Belga 9, Norwood 7, Cruz 6, Ahanmisi 6, Tiu 4, Ponferrada 2, Washington 0.
NLEX 105 – Chism 27, Lastimosa 15, Camson 14, Taulava 12, Alas 11, Lanete 8, Villanueva J. 5, Guinto 4, Soyud 3, Anthony 2, Tiongson 2, Baracael 2, Khobuntin 0, Rios 0.
Quarters: 26-27, 62-52, 80-81, 113-105.