JAMES Yap shrugged off a bad back and played a big role in helping San Mig Coffee clinch the last semifinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
But from the looks of it, the two-time league MVP will have to continue playing with the injury in the Mixers’ best-of-five series against top seed Alaska.
Worse, he’s not even 100 percent sure if he’ll be ready to go up against Calvin Abueva and the rest of the Aces.
“Siguro 50-50 ako makalaro sa semis. Masakit kasi talaga,” said Yap while his back was being iced during the post-game interview following the Mixers’ 90-82 win over the Meralco Bolts in their winner-take-all quarterfinal showdown on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Nakapasok na kami (sa semis), pero bukas pa malaman,” added Yap, who’s scheduled to undergo an MRI test at the St. Lukes Global City on Thursday.
The shooting guard out of University of the East played through injury and poured in 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting in leading the San Mig locals during the all-important win over Meralco.
Yap said he had to make sure his back would not act up during the game by undergoing ultrasound and chiropractic treatment.
“Itong game na ito trinabaho ko ng dalawang araw para sa likod ko,” Yap said who had to be taken out of the game just before halftime to allow San Mig’s therapist to attend on his back. “Kasi nag-ti-tighten `yung likod ko, habang tumatagal naninigas `yung likod ko.”
San Mig coach Tim Cone later praised his star for a heroic performance.
“It was good to have James out there firing. He was playing at a high level and moving better,” said Cone of the two-time PBA MVP.
The San Mig superstar said he needed to shrug off the pain and play in his bid to help the Mixers reach the next round and eventually, help the team retain its title.
“Ipinakita ko lang sa kanila na laban lang ako, kailangan makatulong sa team,” he added. “Ok naman pinakita ng teammates ko.”
But beneath all of it, Yap can’t hide the discomfort he’s been going through.
“First time `yung ganitong sakit. Dati nag-spasm-spasm lang siya, ngayon di na nag-i-improve.”
He recalled contracting the back injury shortly after he returned from a bout with the flu.
“Nagkasakit ako tapos nag-extra workout ako para makahabol, tapos kinabukasan doon na nag-start,” said Yap.