BIÑAN, Laguna - Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia played down the late benching of James Yap in a 107-101 loss to GlobalPort in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Friday night.
Yap put up a solid offensive showing with 22 points built around six triples in 22 minutes, playing a big role in a crucial run that kept Rain or Shine ahead by six in the final minutes.
However, the former league MVP sat out a long stretch before he was brought back into the game for Rain or Shine's final two offensives, by which time GlobalPort has already wrested the lead.
Garcia later explained that GlobalPort was attacking Yap's defense in the final stretch, prompting him to pull out the popular gunner.
"They were attacking James, so we had to take him out for a while," Garcia. "Sandali lang naman siya nilabas."
Still, Garcia insisted Yap and the rest of the Painters' wingmen played good defense.
"With James and Jeff (Chan), they did a good job today, even Jericho (Cruz)," Garcia said. "We know Global was attacking James the whole time. But James played good defense today. Sean Anthony was making his shots, pero naka-challenge naman eh, so you can't ask anything more."
Garcia also explained Yap got all banged up by his defenders in the final stretch and needed a breather.
"Bangga sila ng bangga (with his defender) and I think he wasn't getting the calls," he added of Yap. "Sean Anthony got away with lots of physical (contact), so he (Yap) just needed a breather and when he came back, we were still in the game. Global just hit the big shots."
Yap was quick to move on after the loss, shifting his focus to TNT Katropa which they meet on Sunday in the tailend of back-to-back games.
"Important yung game (against Globalport) pero medyo kinapos kami," Yap said. "Pero 'wag na namin isipin 'tong game na 'to kasi back-to-back games kami, so bounce back na lang."