WHILE there are those who questioned the selection of James Yap as the Finals MVP of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, teammate Mark Barroca said there’s no one deserving of the award than the acknowledged franchise player of San Mig Coffee.
People may not have noticed it, but Barroca said Yap made his presence felt starting in the playoffs after being a non-factor for most of the elimination round.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya (Yap), parang newborn siya, balik ka na naman, parang nabuhay ang patay kasi nawala si James (in the eliminations) pero bumalik siya sa semis (onwards),” Barroca said.
The 5-foot-10 playmaker from Far Eastern University acknowledged Yap’s playoff resurgence made it easier for him and the rest of the Mixers to contribute on offense since opposing teams had its mindset focus on the two-time league MVP.
“Kapag siya (Yap) gumawa, siyempre ang depensa naka-tutok sa kanya at ang attention sa depensa nawawala na sa amin,” explained the 28-year-old Barroca.
The third year point guard stood side by side with Yap during the Mixers’ huge fourth-quarter run in the title clinching Game Four on Thursday night as he scored 12 of his team-high 22 points to lead San Mig to a 100-91 victory over Talk `N Text.
Yap meanwhile, banged in all of his 10 points in the pivotal fourth.
The fourth quarter brilliance had both Yap and Barroca in the running for the PBA Press Corps-Holcim Cement Finals MVP trophy.
Barroca earlier won the individual plum during San Mig’s title run in the Philippine Cup.
But the San Mig combo guard was convinced Yap was the key to the Mixers winning a third successive league championship.
“Sa quarterfinals, dahan-dahan na bumabalik yung laro niya (Yap), so nung Finals, nagulat nga din ako, kasi nag-back-to-back Best Player siya. Bumalik na siya,” Barroca added.
Barroca averaged 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists during the Finals as the team won a second straight title this season, lining up the Mixers for a possible Grand Slam romp as they defend their Governors Cup crown starting Sunday.
San Mig is bringing back last year’s Best Import Marqus Blakely for its season-ending campaign.