James Yap rediscovered his old form to propel the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters past the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 103-97, in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Thursday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The E-Painters thus wil be marching into the semifinals phase for the first time since 2016, setting up a best-of-five affair with the fifth-seeded Barangay Ginebra.
Playing in a do-or-die situation, James Yap did what he does best as he had his best game in a Rain or Shine uniform, exploding for 27 points that was highlighted with career-best seven triples in 32 minutes as a starter.
But his effort nearly went to waste as the Batang Pier’s last-ditch rally, puntuated by a Pringle triple, pulled them to within just four, 94-101, with 45 seconds left.
But fortunately, Reggie Johnson was there for the Elasto Painters, as the import scored eight fourth-quarter points, including a clutch hook shot inside the final minute, before they came up with a solid defensive stance that stopped GlobalPort in its tracks
Overall, Johnson finished with game-high 27 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists. Raymond Almazan had 16 points and six boards, while Chris Tiu produced 12 markers and three assists for Rain or Shine which led by as many as 16 points in the payoff period.
Stanley Pringle carried the Batang Pier with 23 points, eight assists, and five rebounds, Paolo Javelona contributed a career-high 18 points, while import Malcolm White was held to just 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds.
The Game 1 of the semis series between Rain or Shine and Ginebra is on Sunday, July 15, 7 p.m. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
RAIN OR SHINE 103 – Johnson 29, Yap 27, Almazan 16, Tiu 12, Norwood 7, Belga 7, Ponferada 3, Daquioag 2, Ahanmisi 0, Borboran 0.
GLOBALPORT 97 – Pringle 23, Javelona 18, White 12, Grey 10, Anthony 10, Tautuaa 7, Taha 6, Teng 3, Espinas 2, Elorde 2, Gabayni 2.
Quarter scores: 24-22, 46-38, 75-67, 103-97