Two-time PBA Most Valuable Player James Yap and former PBA Best Import awardee Denzel Bowles hope to bring their tried and tested partnership when Rain or Shine opens its campaign in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup starting May 31.
Yap and Bowles will reunite and play with each other exactly seven years after leading B-Meg (now Magnolia) to the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title with a 4-3 win over Talk 'N Text.
That time, Yap was voted as Finals' MVP, while Bowles had a monster 39-point, 21-rebound effort in the series-clinching 90-84 overtime win by the Llamados over the Tropang Texters in the seventh and deciding game.
But this time, the two players will now carry the fight for Rain or Shine, the Asian Coating Philippines, Inc. franchise seeking its third PBA championships since joining the league in 2006.
“It will be a lot different now (with Rain or Shine), but Denzel and I have the same goal of winning and leading our team to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup,” said Yap during his appearance in the 23rd “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports at the National Press Club in Intramuros yesterday.
Yap, who won seven PBA titles with Purefoods/Magnolia from 2005-2014 before being traded to Rain or Shine in 2016, said the Elasto Painters have a lot of work to do in the import-flavored conference.
But he claimed the Elasto Painters are determined to redeem themselves after losing to his former team Magnolia in the semifinals of the recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Bowles also welcomed the chance to play with former teammate Yap again.
“I’m happy to play with him again,”said Bowles, who last played for the Star Hotshots in the PBA in 2016 — the same year he won the Best Import award.
“With my new team Rain or Shine, I’ll go out there and play my game,” added the 6'10” American, who impressed a lot with his 33-point effort in a 94-88 victory over NLEX in their tune-up game last week.
Rain or Shine assistant coach Cris Gavina and the three other players — Javee Mocon, Beau Belga, and Norbert Torres — admitted the road to the PBA title will have to pass through San Miguel Beer, which is seeking another grand slam this year.
“Of course, San Miguel is team to beat with their strong line-up. But we’re ready. Everybody is ready and knows their role to the team,” said Gavina, who represented head coach Caloy Garcia in the weekly sports forum sponsored by Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, PAGCOR, Community Basketball Association and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks.