SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 23 (Ticker) -- Yao Ming made his highly anticipated debut and watched Tim Duncan collect 27 points and 13 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs edged the Houston Rockets, 80-79, in preseason action.

The 7-5 Yao entered the game with 10 minutes remaining in the second period, made a pair of free throws on his first possession and hit a fadeaway jumper over Spurs center David Robinson for his first NBA basket with 5:08 left.

But Yao, who signed with the Rockets on October 10 after getting approval from the China Basketball Association, struggled thereafter and finished with six points on 1-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes.

The top overall pick in the June draft, Yao was 4-for-4 from the foul line and grabbed four rebounds, but could only watch as Stephen Jackson's layup gave the Spurs an 80-76 lead with 14 seconds left.

The Rockets held a 75-72 lead after Steve Francis, who had 15 points, hit a jumper with 3:23 remaining. But he committed a turnover on Houston's next possession, and Ming was replaced by Kelvin Cato with 3:02 left.

The Spurs tied it, 75-75, on Danny Ferry's jumper with 2:22 to go and went ahead for good when Robinson converted 1-of-2 free throws with 1:43 left.