IT’S all going to be a mental battle as superstar James Yap tries to find ways sorting out his shooting struggles all conference long going to the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
The two-time league MVP is well aware he’ll be up against an array of Petron Blaze defenders in the best-of-seven title series that begins on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena, as they try to keep the San Mig Coffee gunner from dominating offensively in the Finals.
Despite picking up the slack offenseively in the semifinals where the Mixers booted out the Meralco Bolts in four games, Yap is averaging 33.2 percent from the field in the season-ending tournament.
Still, there’s no excuse for not being on the mark especially with the Mixers gunning for their first championship since winning last year’s Commissioner’s Cup title.
“Kapag Finals kasi, ibang usapan na iyan. Mahalaga ang mental preparation. Basta iniisip ko lang talaga makatulong sa team then maka-shoot ako at makuha ko rhythm ko,” Yap said on the eve of the title series.
For somebody who’s played for a championship five times in the past, the former University of the East stalwart said the Finals requires toughness - both mental and physical.
“Bugbugan iyan pag Finals. Walang puwedeng maging pusong mamon dito,” said Yap, who averaged 15.0 points in the Mixers’ 3-1 win over the Bolts in the semis.
“Kailangan aggressive ka lagi, every ball possession importante talaga.”
The Mixers are seeing action in their 24th Finals appearance in franchise history, but Yap said they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“It’s nice to be back sa Finals, pero wala pa kaming na-accomplish," he said. “Importante lang `yung focus, physical and mental preparation.”
Yap and San Mig are out to complete a mission after failing to win last year’s Governors Cup title when they settled for a runner-up finish behind champion Rain or Shine.