JAMES Yap said the presence of Marc Pingris lifted the spirits of San Mig in Game Five, never mind if the Mixers fell short of ending the PBA Philippine Cup title series following their 74-81 loss to Rain or Shine.
“Nagpapasalamat kami kay Ping na kahit masakit ang mata niya, naglaro pa rin siya. Si Ping naman, hangga’t kaya, maglalaro ‘yan eh. Gusto rin niya mag-champion,” said Yap afterwards.
“Hindi niya kami iniwan,” added the two-time league MVP.
Pingris finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds despite nursing an injury to his right eye which he sustained in Game Four when JR Quinahan accidentally poked him while the two went for a rebound.
Yap also had an outstanding Game Five by firing away 18 points,although he went just 7-of-18 from the field.
But the Mixers failed to win the All-Filipino crown outright as they found no answer to the hot hands of Jeff Chan, who torched them for 24 points in leading Rain or Shine to victory.
Yap is only hoping Pingris will be 100 percent healthy for Game Six on Wednesday.
“Hopefully, maka-recover na siya sa Game Six kasi may two-day break,” said Yap.
The San Mig star said the Mixers also have to end the series by Wednesday as momentum could drastically swing to the Elasto Painters' camp if they forge a winner-take-all match.
“Ganun talaga ang championship. Walang gustong matalo. Bawal mag-relax eh. Kailangan pa rin talaga na focus at go hard lagi. Sobrang important ang Game Six kasi kumbaga dapat double or triple effort. Habang tumatagal, nagiging pisikal lalo,” Yap said.
Although satisfied with their defense, the former University of the East standout hopes the Mixers double their efforts for Game Six, especially on the Rain or Shine one-two punch of Chan and Paul Lee.
“Kailangan lang kami maging consistent sa defense. ‘Yun talaga ang target namin. Kailangang less touches kay Jeff at Paul,” said the former University of the East star.