James Yap carried the offense in the fourth quarter as the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters opened their title defense in the 2017 PBA Oppo Commissioner’s Cup with a 113-105 win over the NLEX Road Warriors on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Yap spearheaded Rain or Shine’s attack with 26 points, 13 of which came in the final period. He went 5-of-11 from the three-point area en route to 60% shooting. Import Shawn Taggart had 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocks.
The Road Warriors were staring at a 10-point deficit at halftime, 62-52, but they opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run, eight points coming from Chism, to come within a single point. Taggart made a jumper to make it 66-63 for Rain or Shine, but a free throw from Sean Anthony and five more points from Chism put NLEX ahead, 70-66, 6:20 in the period.
The Elasto Painters scored six straight to reclaim the lead, but the Road Warriors took an 81-80 edge heading into the final canto. Rain or Shine grabbed a four-point lead early in the fourth after a basket from Almazan, but NLEX tied the score at 90-all after Mac Baracael made a putback off a Chism miss.
After an exchange of baskets, Rain or Shine went up by four points, 96-92, at the 5:45 mark after a fastbreak layup from James Yap. Alas scored on a layup for NLEX but Yap answered with a three-pointer. Alas hit again on the other end, but Taggart responded with two of his own. Eric Camson drilled a three and a layup from Carlo Lastimosa tied it at 101, 2:44 remaining in the game.
After a split from Maverick Ahanmisi, Alas put NLEX on top with another layup but Norwood hit back with a triple to give Rain or Shine the lead, 105-103, 1:59 left. Chism misfired on a three-point attempt as Yap knocked down a jumper to push the margin to four. The Road Warriors came up empty again on their next possession and another triple from Yap made it a seven-point game, 110-103, 40 seconds left. NLEX committed a turnover out of a timeout, sealing the win for the Elasto Painters.
Rain or Shine held a 10-point lead at the end of the first half. Yap and Taggart each scored 13 points, while Chan added 12 off the bench. NLEX, meanwhile, got 12 points from Taulava. The Elasto Painters shot above 50% from the field, making seven three-pointers in the first 24 minutes.
They forced the Road Warriors to 10 errors which translated to a 17-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Chism had a monster performance in his first game back in the PBA. He scored 27 points, 15 of which came in the third period, and grabbed 21 rebounds. Lastimosa and Camson chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively.
– Raymond Almazan played in his first game since hurting his calf in the Philippine Cup eliminations in December of last year.
– Rain or Shine and NLEX have games on Sunday, March 19, which interestingly is the birthday of both coaches Yeng Guiao and Caloy Garcia.