James Yap hit the big shots during the biggest moments on Wednesday night, lifting Rain or Shine to a nail-biting 75-74 over Magnolia to remain in the lead in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Mall of Asia Arena.
The former two-time MVP while playing, interestingly, for the Purefoods franchise, hit 11 points in the fourth, including the game-winning three-point play with 2.5 seconds left that lifted the Elasto Painters to their fifth straight win in a 7-1 record.
That more or less meant a seat in the quarterfinals for the Painters, who have played the most games before the tournament goes on a much-needed break.
The loss was the third straight for the reigning Governors’ Cup champion Hotshots, who couldn’t hold on to a 74-72 lead that former Rain or Shine franchise player Paul Lee gave them the play before.
“Basically, we expected Magnolia’s going to come out defensively like they usually do,” Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said. “But at the end of the day, we just hit the big shots.”
“I think the story of the game is simple: James Yap,” Garcia added.
Meanwhile, shorthanded Alaska got a lot of players stepping up that resulted in the Aces second straight win, a 103-101 nipping of Blackwater in the first game.
Jeron Teng and Carl Bryan Cruz scored 18 each for Alaska.
ALASKA 103—Cruz 18, Teng 18, Thoss 16, Exciminiano 14, Banchero 11, Ayaay 9, Pascual 8, Galliguez 7, Potts 2, Baclao 0.
BLACKWATER 101—Maliksi 25, Sumang 18, Digregorio 14, Jose 9, Tratter 7, Belo 7, Sena 6, Cortez 6, Desiderio 4, Alolino 3, Eriobu 2, Javier 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 29-28, 49-48, 75-72, 103-101.
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.
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