Rain or Shine rides James Yap’s hot hand to frustrate NLEX
Rain or Shine rode on a vintage performance by James Yap to open its Philippine Cup campaign on a good note, thwarting NLEX, 96-87, Friday in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome.
Yap turned back the clock, uncorking three straight long bombs to wrest the lead from the Road Warriors in the first half and finish with 20 points and three assists, leading the Elasto Painters in scoring for the first time since pushing them to a semifinals berth July last year.
“We had good ball movement, we shared the scoring, and James stepped up big time,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
The ElastoPainters kept their iron grip on the lead with the help of Javee Mocon who fired 13 points, and Jewel Ponferrada, who added 12 to fill the void left by Raymond Almazan, who sprained his ankle in practice earlier this week.
But Garcia said there’s much more to work on.
“It’s really difficult playing against NLEX because we know that they won’t stop playing hard,” he said. “It showed towards the end.”
“We had a lead and they were able to cut it down to just six. I think it’s just one of the things we had to look at right now, how to close out games cause if it was too close, we would’ve lost the game,” he added.
JR Quiñahan led the way for the Road Warriors with19 markers while returning guard Kevin Alas chimed in 12.
NLEX also drew commendable effort from off-season acquisitions Marion Magat and Poy Erram, who contributed 13 and 10 points respectively, but they weren’t enough to help pull the rug from under Rain or Shine, who was in control since the halftime break.
Rain or Shine faces Barangay Ginebra next in a rare affair slated in Calasiao, Pangasinan.
NLEX, on the other hand, will try to enter into the win column when they face NorthPort this Sunday.
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