'Big Game' James Yap's overtime work averts Purefoods collapse against skidding San Miguel
James Yap had eight points and an assist in overtime to bail out Purefoods. Jaime Campos

JAMES Yap wasted little time in heralding his return from injury, leading Purefoods to a thrilling 113-105 overtime victory over San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots superstar, in his first game back after a two-game absence due to a right-knee injury, knocked down two huge triples, a tough layup, and dished out an assist in the extra session to help his team rebound from a collapse in the fourth quarter.

As a result, Purefoods snapped a three-game skid as it registered its fifth victory in eight games to gain fourth spot, while leaving its sister team stuck at the bottom, reeling to a sixth loss in seven games.

“James had his big moments, just like he has done his entire career,” Hotshots coach Tim Cone said of the 10-year league veteran, who finished with 15 points in 30 minutes.

Denzel Bowles likewise delivered in the clutch as the American slotman hit the free throw that gave the Hotshots the lead for good at 106-105, highlighting a dominant showing that saw him scatter 35 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and one steal in 45 minutes.

Alex Mallari, Marc Pingris, and PJ Simon also made significant contributions for Purefoods, which looked poised for a blowout win in when they enjoyed leads that grew to as many as 17 points, 83-66, before Marcio Lassiter caught fire to lead the Beermen to a late comeback.

The SMB gunner poured in 13 of his 21 points in the payoff period, including eight straight, the last on right-wing triple, in a stretch that knotted the count at 95, capping a 29-12 salvo by the Beermen.

SMB was ready to steal the win when it held a 105-103 lead in the extra period, but the Hotshots refused to budge and scored the game’s last 10 points to seal the outcome.

That put to naught the solid effort of SMB import AZ Reid, who registered 23 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and three assists in 48 minutes for the Beermen, who got limited minutes from Arwind Santos who was nursing a leg injury.

The scores:

PUREFOODS 113 – Bowles 35, Mallari 17, Pingris 15, Yap 15, Simon 9, Barroca 9, Devance 6, Maliksi 4, Taha 3, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Pennisi 0

SAN MIGUEL 105 – Reid 23, Lassiter 21, Ross 15, Fajardo 14, Lutz 11, Kramer 8, Cabagnot 7, Santos 3, Reyes 2, Semerad 1, Tubid 0

Quarterscores: 15-22, 42-39, 76-66, 98-98, 113-105

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