RAIN or Shine coach Caloy Garcia stressed it wasn’t his intention to bench James Yap in the fourth quarter of the team's 81-74 loss to Ginebra on Sunday, saying he simply opted to turn to a unit he thought would defend the best against the Gin Kings down the stretch of their PBA Philippine Cup game.
Yap found his groove on offense in the third quarter where he scored seven of his 10 points, but didn’t have a chance to sustain his hot streak as he went out with over nine minutes left, never to return again.
“I was thinking more of the defensive side,” Garcia explained to SPIN.ph a day after the loss.
Garcia, who also didn't field gunner Jeff Chan in the final minutes, said he felt his defense - anchored mostly by holdovers who were familiar with Rain or Shine's defensive rotation, held up in the endgame, although he admitted that offense became a problem.
The E-Painters, fielding a five of Jericho Cruz, Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymond Almazan, Gabe Norwood, and Jay Washington, couldn’t buy a bucket and missed all their 12 attempts in the final four minutes as they gave up a four-point lead to lose by seven points.
“Mas kabisado nung mga old players yung rotation namin sa depensa eh, and I think we were holding well, kaso lang yung problema namin sa huli was our offense,” said Garcia, who took over at RoS after Yeng Guiao's move to NLEX.
Garcia said he also avoided overusing Yap in just his second game back after recovering from minor knee surgery in the offseason.
“Ayaw ko naman i-ano si James, ibuhos kaagad sa second game back,” Garcia said, although noting the two-time league MVP’s playing time has already increased from 13 minutes in his debut to 17 against the Gin Kings.
“So tataas at tataas na yan,” Garcia said. “Kasi ayaw ko naman mabigla din siya. Baka pag dating sa fourth, bandang huli, baka pilitin niya at baka may mangyari pa.”
“Sa next game, siguro aabot yan mga twenty (minutes) and above na,” he added.