TIM Cone said Ginebra didn't take any chances against James Yap following his scoring explosion in Rain or Shine's quarterfinal series against GlobalPort.
“We took him very seriously as we had to,” Cone said of his former player at Purefoods. “There's a reason why he won MVPs; not just one but multiple MVPs, and there is a reason he led us to a grand slam. We had all that in mind.”
Yap had 15 points but went just 5-of-18 from the field in Game One of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series, allowing Ginebra to pull off a 102-89 win for a 1-0 lead over the Elastopainters.
Cone coached Yap at Purefoods including the grand slam in the 2013-2014 season. He paid particular attention on his former star after his 27-point performance against GlobalPort in a knockout game in the quarterfinals.
“We watched that 27-point game of James and he didn’t skip a beat. He missed some shots down the stretch but the game was already out of reach by that time. Those misses don’t matter but he hit shots when they need it,” said Cone.
Yap only had five points and six rebounds in the first half, but that didn't stop Cone from putting Justin Brownlee on Yap.
“James played really well in the first half and brought them back. We were losing him in our double teaming. He was hitting threes and we had to change our defense because of that," said the Ginebra coach.
"But we put Justin on him. So he is playing against a guy who is four, five inches taller and as quick and as athletic as James. It was a tough match-up all game long,” added Cone.
When informed about Cone's defensive plan, the Rain or Shine star said he more or less expected it.
“Thank you. Siyempre kilala rin ako ni coach Tim. Siyempre may mga sasabihin din siya sa mga players niya na kumbaga wag basta basta (pabayaan),” said Yap.
Still, Yap insisted he didn't go out trying to replicate his 27-point performance.
“Actually, hindi ko naman hinahabol ‘yung na-score ko nung last game. Ang akin is paano manalo. Sayang biglang lumayo nung fourth. May chance pa naman bumawi. Set aside ‘tong game na ‘to pero sana may natutunan for Game Two,” said Yap.