James Yap stepped up as the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters got off to a winning start and repulsed NLEX, 96-87, in their 2018 Honda PBA Philippine Cup opener on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Yap scattered 20 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, to go with three assists in close to 31 minutes of action for the Elasto Painters.
Rookie Javee Mocon also had a rousing PBA debut with 13 points and five rebounds, while Jewel Ponferrada added 12 points and three boards.
Maverick Ahanmisi and Norbert Torres each had 11 points for the Elasto Painters, whose 23-point second quarter onslaught gave the team the steam the rest of the way.
Rain or Shine led by as much as 18 points. But NLEX showed resilience and refused to give up, trimming the gap to six after a couple of fast break plays for Kevin Alas and JR Quinahan, 93-87, with 30 seconds remaining.
But Rain or Shine was able to milk the clock and Ed Daquioag drilled in a three-pointer to seal the victory.
"It's a good start for us," said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. " We had good ball movement and James stepped up big time."
Quinahan paced the Road Warriors with 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Marion Magat had 13 points.
In his first game back from an ACL injury, Alas finished with 12 points and four assists while Poy Erram had a quiet debut for the Road Warriors with 10 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. Rookie Kris Porter added 10 points, four rebounds, and a pair of dimes.
Rain or Shine 96 - Yap 20, Mocon 13, Ponferada 12, Ahanmisi 11, Torres 11, Belga 9, Rosales 7, Daquioag 5, Nambatac 4, Norwood 4, Borboran 0, Maiquez 0, Alejandro 0.
NLEX 87 - Quianahan 19, Magat 13, Alas 12, Porter 10, Erram 10, Paniamogan 8, Ighalo 6, Fonacier 4, Soyud 3, Tallo 2, Galanza 0, Tiongson 0, Baguio 0.
Quarterscores: 17-21, 40-31, 72-57, 96-87.
- Raymond Almazan sat out the match due to a sprained ankle. He suffered the injury last Tuesday.
- NLEX was limited to just 10 points in the second period.
Rain or Shine - vs Ginebra on January 26 in Clasiao, Pangasinan
NLEX - vs NorthPort on January 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum