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Yap scores three-year high, leads Rain or Shine past NLEX


A vintage James Yap showed up for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday night, hitting big shots down the stretch to will his team to a 113-105 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opener at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The 35-year-old led the Elasto Painters with 26 huge markers, including 13 in the final frame, by shooting 9-of-15 from the field. He hit five triples along with three rebounds in the 28 minutes he saw action on the floor.

“It’s nice to see James Yap back,” raved Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia of the veteran.

Yap’s heroics came in the best time possible for the Elasto Painters. After a Kevin Alas lay-up that sent NLEX ahead by a point, 103-102, with 2:14 left in the game, RoS exploded for 11 straight points, with Yap serving as the anchor.

In that stretch, Yap scored five straight, with the first one off a one-hander in the 1:26 mark, and the next one coming off a crossover-stepback three-pointer move that dropped defender Bradwyn Guinto with 40.4 to go.

From there, the Road Warriors lost their grip on the tight match and bowed to an eight-point defeat.

“I just hope he’ll be healthy. If he’s healthy, he’ll get back to being the old James Yap,” added Garcia.

The Elasto Painters also received ample support from other players, with import Shawn Taggart making his presence felt with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The returning Raymond Almazan quickly made an impact in the win, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Jeff Chan supplied 12 markers despite hitting just 4-of-13.

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“We just told the players that we can’t have anymore excuses. The time that we had last conference should be ample for us to jell. There’s no more excuses for us at the end of the day,” said Garcia of the win.

Wayne Chism led NLEX with a monster line of 27 points and 21 rebounds in the losing effort. Carlo Lastimosa chipped in 15, while Eric Camson and Asi Taulava had 14 and 12 respectively.

Rain or Shine clicked from beyond the arc excellently by hitting 13 three-pointers in the game, a far cry from NLEX’s six.

Both RoS and NLEX will have their second assignments this Sunday, March 19, still at the same venue. The Elasto Painters will battle Mahindra at 4:30 PM, while the Road Warriors will face Meralco at 7:00 PM.

The Scores:

Rain or Shine (113) – Yap 26, Taggart 23, Almazan 18, Chan 12, Belga 9, Norwood 7, Cruz 6, Ahanmisi 6, Tiu 4, Ponfferada 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.

Quarterscores: 26-27, 62-52, 80-81, 113-105.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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