by Waylon Galvez
Games February 27 (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Meralco vs Columbian
7 p.m. – Phoenix Pulse vs NorthPort
Former two-time MVP James Yap completed a three-point play with 3.2 seconds remaining to help Rain or Shine beat Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok 75-74 in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Yap, who spent his first 12 seasons with Magnolia before being dealt to ROS in a blockbuster trade for Paul Lee back in 2016, got the ball on an inbound pass from Beau Belga.
He took one dribble to his left, then stopped to elude the defense of Rafi Reavis before executing his patented one hander over Rome dela Rosa, who committed a foul as Yap was airborne.
Yap’s bank shot leveled the score at 74-all, and his bonus shot from the foul line gave Rain or Shine the lead, 75-74. Ian Sangalang missed a potential game winning shot at the buzzer.
The heroics of Yap capped an explosive performance for the ace gunner from Escalante, Negros Occidental as he scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
The win of the Elasto Painters extended their win streak to five games as they improved their record to 7-1. More importantly, the team is on track to finishing in the top two which carries a twice-to-beat incentive.
“Two big shots at the end from James. We just followed what we drew,” said ROS mentor Caloy Garcia.
“It was a game between two teams that plays tough defense (all throughout the game), but at the of the day we just made the big shots. We just keep it simple, we got it to James Yap.”
“I know James wants to win against Magnolia, win or loss we want James to take the last shot,” added Garcia.
Since that trade in 2016 between the two teams, Magnolia and Rain or Shine have met eight times, with the Hotshots winning five and Lee adjudged as the game’s best player. ROS won three – none of which gave Yap as top player of the game honors.
Yap, who will turn 37 this Friday, said that he just played his game.
“As always, I’m just ready to play,” said Yap, who also had five rebounds in more than 25 minutes of action.
Maverick Ahanmisi added 13 points for Rain or Shine, while Norbert Torres contributed 11 points off the bench. Raymond Almazan finished with five points and 14 rebounds.
Sangalang led Magnolia, which dropped to 0-3, with 16 points and 18 boards. Mark Barroca added 16 points while Robert Herndon had 11. Lee, who turns 30 this Valentine’s Day, also had 11 markers.
RAIN OR SHINE 75 – Yap 18, Ahanmisi 13, Torres 11, Rosales 7, Norwood 6, Almazan 5, Belga 4, Nambatac 3, Ponferada 3, Mocon 3, Onwubere 2, Daquioag 0.
MAGNOLIA 74 – Sangalang 16, Barroca 16, Herndon 11, Lee 10, Reavis 9, Brondial 7, Dela Rosa 2, Jalalon 2, Pascual 1, Melton 0.
Quarters: 24-14; 40-33; 55-49; 75-74.