ROS 113 – NLEX 105
With less than a minute to go in a close game against the NLEX Road Warriors, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters put the ball in the hands of James Yap.
Yap stared down on his defender and went one-on-one. He made his move, dribbled the ball between his legs, and delivered a nasty step-back three-pointer as Bradwyn Guinto tried desperately to recover. It looked he was the James Yap of old.
Looking at his numbers, it was indeed Yap in vintage form. He racked up 26 points (13 in the fourth quarter), including 5-for-11 from downtown. He busted out his midrange, his long bombs, and even his patented one-handed floaters. The guy didn’t look like he was 35-years-old.
“It’s nice to see James Yap back,” RoS head coach Caloy Garcia said. “Basically last conference medyo may pressure not only on him, even on me, on using James Yap, kasi I felt last conference, his knee wasn’t that good pa.”
Yap was hampered with a knee problem during the entire Philippine Cup, thus limiting his production and contributions to the team. In the offseason, he worked hard to get back into shape. The result was a spectacular breakout game.
“I just hope that he’ll be healthy. If he’s healthy, we’ll see the old James Yap,” Coach Garcia went on.
Sean Taggart, the Elasto Painters’ import, finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Raymond Almazan put up 18 points (7-of-9 FG) in his first game back since his injury.
“I just told the players we can’t have any more excuses after how we played last conference. It’s time,” Coach Garcia stressed. “We already gelled with J-Wash [Jay Washington], James [Yap]. I just told them before the game, there are no more excuses this time. If you want to play, you have to play defense. I think there were times when we played good defense after that, we were hitting our shots. At the end of the day, it’s a collective team effort – not only from the players, but also from the coaching staff.”
Wayne Chism led NLEX with monster double-double performance of 27 points and 21 rebounds in a losing effort.