JAMES Yap once again haunted his former team on Wednesday night, delivering the game-winning three-point play that enabled Rain or Shine to foil Magnolia, 75-74, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The two-time league MVP scored 18 points and had the final say in a veritable shootout against Magnolia guard Paul Lee. Ironically, the two players swapped places in a 2016 trade between the two teams.
Just moments after Paul Lee gave Magnolia the lead, 74-72, with 6.1 seconds left on an up-and-under move against Gabe Norwood, Yap faked off Rome dela Rosa and Raffy Reavis before hitting the lean-in jumper and the bonus free throw.
Ian Sangalang missed a running jumper in the game's final play, allowing Rain or Shine to win its fifth straight game just two days before Yap's 37th birthday.
Yap’s marginal basket sent Magnolia reeling to its third loss in as many outings heading to the two-week break for Team Pilipinas' campaign in the the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“I think the story of the game was simple – James Yap,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “Two big shots in the game. He just followed what he drew up, we trusted that he will be open, and he made the big shots.”
The game was very much up for grabs after Yap nailed a crucial three-pointer to tie the game at 70 with 1:13 left in the final quarter.
Maverick Ahanmisi contributed 13 points and seven rebounds while Norbert Torres added 11 points in another impressive performance by Rain or Shine, which continues to lead the league with a 7-1 card.
Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca had 16 points each for Magnolia, which overcame an early 14-point deficit and took a four-point lead, 68-64, following an 8-0 run.
Rain or Shine 75 – Yap 18, Ahanmisi 13, Torres 11, Rosales 7, Norwood 6, Almazan 5, Belga 4, Mocon 3, Ponferada 3, Nambatac 3, Onwubere 2, Daquioag 0.
Magnolia 74 – Sangalang 16, Barroca 16, Herndon 11, Lee 10, Reavis 9, Brondial 7, Jalalon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 1, Melton 0.
Quarters: 24-14; 40-33; 55-49; 75-74.