Rain or Shine held off Barangay Ginebra in the final three minutes before running away 109-100 to even their 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The best-of-five series is tied at one game apiece, with Game 3 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While the Kings' shooting turned sour in the waning minutes, the Elasto Painters went on a tear.
James Yap sparked the 12-0 run in the final three minutes that sealed the victory. Yap connected on an acrobatic layup before capping it off with a 3-pointer from Steph Curry range. Sandwiched in between were a Gabe Norwood jumper and a 3-pointer by Reggie Johnson.
"I'm just enjoying the moment. It's hard to reach the semifinals," Yap said in Filipino.
Yap finished with 18 points built on three treys and Reggie Johnson led Rain or Shine with 25 points and 20 rebounds, eight assists, and three blocks.
Norwood finished with 12, while Chris Tiu and Raymond Almazan combined for 21 points.
"I'm so proud of my players right now. They came out and played hard," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
Yap is no stranger to big moments and is enjoying a career resurgence at 36 years old. The two-time league MVP proved it again Thursday, uncorking big shot after another.
Yap was confident his shots were going to fall, especially his last 3-point field goal as the shot clock expired.
"There was no hesitation," said Yap. "I don't have a choice but to take the shot. Thank God it went in. Upon release I knew it was gonna go in. I could feel it."
His teammate, Beau Belga, was the least surprised.
Belga said Yap is a veteran with a rookie's gusto.
"If you think about it, as a veteran, you're supposed to just relax. But not him," Belga said in Filipino. "James still has a lot left in his tank. I'm not surprised. I can see there's still a lot James can do on the court."
Rain or Shine's win spoiled a tour de force, 29-point and 12-rebound outing from Ginebra import Justin Brownlee. He also had three assists, two steals, and the same number of blocks in almost 44 minutes of play.
Greg Slaughter had 20 points and eight rebounds, while LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson chipped in 17 and 14 markers, respectively.
Rain or Shine (109): Johnson 25, Yap 18, Norwood 12, Tiu 11, Almazan 10, Borboran 9, Daquioag 9, Nambatac 6, Ahanmisi 4, Ponferada 0, Washington 0
Ginebra (100): Brownlee 29, Slaughter 20, Tenorio 17, Thompson 14, Chan 8, Devance 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 3, Mercado 0, Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 26-36, 57-57, 87-87, 109-100
- The Elasto Painters climbed back from 14 points down.
- Johnson shot 8-of-22 from the field but it hardly mattered, as he hit one of the important baskets in the game.