EVEN though Purefoods Star made things look easy in a 122-86 rout of Alaska at the start of their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinal series, the memory of playoff debacle is keeping stars Marc Pingris and James Yap on their toes.
“Na-out lang kami nung last conference at naging wake-up call na sa amin 'yun, kasi lahat naman ng teams dito magagaling," said Yap, recalling a painful loss to Meralco at this same stage in the last Philippine Cup. "Eh kung magre-relax ka, kakainin ka talaga ng buhay.”
Yap fired 18 points, one of six Purefoods Star players to score in double-figures in Friday's rout of the Aces. But the two-time league MVP knows the danger the Hotshots face in Game Two on Sunday, especially if keep their guard down.
More so against an Alaska side that has shown several times in the past that it is capable of overhauling huge deficits, warned Yap.
“One more game na lang, nasa semis na uli kami. Pero di kami puwede mag-relax sa next game dahil ang Alaska, babalik at babalik talaga yan,” stressed the 33-year-old gunner.
Teammate Marc Pingris echoed Yap’s sentiment, saying the short series is far from over.
“Hindi kami puwede mag-kumpiyansa. Di pa naman kasi tapos ang laro eh saka wala pa naman kaming napapatunayan,” said Pingris, a two-time PBA Finals MVP.
Pingris said come Sunday, he intends to double his defensive effort against Alaska import Damion James, who is expected to come out with a lot more energy in a bid to force a sudden death match.
“Sabi nga ni coach, bigay mo lang ang best mo kasi import naman talaga 'yan (James) eh. Gagawa at gagawa talaga yan, so sa next game, mas hihigpitan ko pa sa depensa,” he added.