Yap, E-Painters open Commissioner's Cup campaign vs. Bolts

Yap, Bowles reunite with RoS (2:40)

James Yap and Denzel Bowles reunite, this time with Rain or Shine in the Commissioner's Cup. (2:40)

Under pressure, a young Denzel Bowles canned a pair of free throws to send the finals game against TNT into overtime. The Llamados did everything right from there and went on to claim the 2012 PBA Commissioner's Cup crown.

The then 23-year-old Bowles conspired with James Yap, who was named Finals MVP, in that conquest.

Now the two are reunited, this time for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. While they are playing for a different team, their goal remains the same.

"It's always great. It's always good to see him. Our first together, my first championship and we just linked together forever and it's always good vibes when I see him," Bowles said.

"I'm always excited to be back here and I feel like I got a good team. I'm really cool with James and Gabe Norwood. So I'm excited to be back."

Yap is thrilled to team up with the former Best Import.

"I'm really happy. I'm excited to play with him after all these years," he said.

Bowles will fill in the gaping hole left by Raymond Almazan, who was traded to the Meralco Bolts a few weeks earlier. The team is coming off a semifinal stint in the Philippine Cup where they wound up second after the elimination round.

They are hoping to sustain that when the Elasto Painters open their campaign against, incidentally, the Bolts on Friday.

"I think our experience last conference augurs well for the team. We really grew as a team. For me I'm so happy although we lost in seven games (agianst Magnolia)," Yap said.

Bowles is hopeful he could be the missing piece in Rain or Shine's resurgence.

"They got to where they wanted to go. It was just one or two plays at the end and hopefully I can be the missing piece and take them to the next level," he said.

"For me, it's always winning a championship. Once you get one, that's all you're chasing for the rest of your career. So I'm chasing number 2. So hopefully, these guys can help me and I can help them too."

Almazan, who is coming off a calf injury, is expected to suit up for the first time for his new team. But Almazan is all business, insisting he had no axe to grind against the Elasto Painters.

"I'll be ready. There's no hard feelings," Almazan said in Filipino.