IT looks like James Yap will have to display his vintage form more often after the surprise departure of Jeff Chan from Rain or Shine.
ROS coach Caloy Garcia has given Yap most of the responsibility he used to share with fellow gunner Chan, who has been traded to Phoenix for Mark Borboran and a future second-round draft pick.
“That’s one of the (positive) points,” Garcia told SPIN.ph over the phone on Monday. “With James there, minsan sa endgame we can’t put James longer (with him sharing minutes with Chan), so I told James na he has to carry the team now on his shoulders, kasi he’s known for that.”
So expect the 35-year-old Yap, who’s averaging 7.7 points on 32-percent shooting, 3.3 boards, and 1.3 assists in 20.6 minutes in the first three games of the PBA Governors’ Cup, to be more of the focal point on offense moving forward, especially in endgames.
“I’m not putting that much pressure on James, pero since we’re losing Jeff, alam niya na siguro the reasons why,” Garcia said of the two-time MVP Yap.
Garcia admitted it was ROS that initiated the trade with Phoenix, but sounded regretful to give up Chan as he stuck to more positives of losing a longtime Elasto Painters standout.
The team later made a second trade, sending rookie point guard Mike Tolomia to Meralco for fellow Gilas cadet Ed Daquioag.
The momentary absence of Gilas Pilipinas members Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan as well as injured Jay Washington triggered the trade, Garcia said.
“When the coaching staff had the talk about the lineup, medyo kailangan namin i-tweak kasi we’re not winning and at the same time, we’re going to be losing Gabe, Raymond, and Jay-Wash for a few games, so parang inano naming is medyo kukulangin kami sa length,” Garcia, whose team has lost two of their first three games.
“So we thought that since Phoenix wanted a change siguro, so nag-compromise kami kay Borboran,” he added.
Garica, however, insisted the trade is hardly a stop-gap measure, saying the move gives the rest of the guards and wingmen, like Don Trollano, Jeramy King, as well as top rotation players Chris Tiu and Jericho Cruz, more opportunities.
“Hindi naman (short term ang mindset),” Garcia insisted. “We also want to give chances to the players we haven’t been playing like sila Trollano, sila Jeramy King, and siguro Chris and Jericho might have longer minutes.”
“With Borboran, he can play the three and the four, so he can play multiple positions,” he added. “Borboran’s a good player. We’ve actually wanted him a long time before; nung nasa Alaska pa lang yun, we were trying to get him. They’re both good shooters. Mas marami lang siguro nagawa si Jeff sa career niya.”
Garcia insisted ROS didn’t get the short end of the stick in the trade.
“For us, we know Jeff is a great player already. But for me, if you look at it in the long term, we’re also looking at sila Don to step up; they play the same position,” Garcia said. “Trollano’s young and he might not make an immediate impact, but we see lots of potential in him, and the only way he can get that potential is if he’s given minutes.”