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    James Yap has been to so many Game 7s he knows what it takes to win it

    Apr 26, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    ANTIPOLO -- For the first time in his career, James Yap will be playing a Game Seven not for but against the Purefoods franchise.

    The two-time PBA MVP had a hand in Rain or Shine forcing the winner-take-all affair against former team Magnolia, pouring in 16 points and seven rebounds in the 91-81 win in Game Six of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Friday.

    That fact is not lost on Yap, but it's something the Escalante, Negros Occidental native would rather not put too much focus on.

    "Syempre sobrang excited ko nga eh. Siguro ang gagawin ko lang is relax lang, wag na masyado mag-isip pa kasi pag inisip mo na Game Seven, kalaban ko pa yung dati kong team, baka maisip ko na kailangang magpakita ako," he said.

    "Wag na. Hindi ko na iisipin yun, laro na lang talaga."

    Yap has had a 5-2 win-loss record in Game Sevens in his 15-year career - all under the Purefoods umbrella - and another victory would bring him back to the Finals of the all-Filipino conference, a first since the then-San Mig Coffee won the Philippine Cup back in 2014.

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    That, though, is just looking too far ahead for the 37-year-old gunner as he looks to head to the decider without much stress.

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    "Five years ago na nga yun eh. Gusto ko mang isipin, ayoko muna dahil nakaka-pressure yung ganoon," he said. "I-take ko lang as a regular game yung Game Seven, basta ibigay ko lang yung best ko.

    "Pagdating kasi sa Game Seven, kailangan we play as a team dahil tulungan na yun eh. Hindi na pwedeng ikaw lang mag-isa dyan. Kailangan walang relax sa Game Seven."

    And that begins with Yap being unmindful of the rich history he shares with the opposing team come Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

    "Excited ako, pero hindi ko muna iisipin yun. Iisipin ko muna na hindi ko team dati yan kasi may halong gigil pag ganoon ang inisip ko," he said with a smirk.

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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