JAMES Yap capped a hot-shooting night Saturday by nailing back-to-back three-point shots inside the final 60 seconds as Star revived its playoff hopes in the PBA Governors Cup with an 89-80 win over a tough KIA side at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles City.
‘Big Game’ James finished with 23 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range to finally end his slump in the season-ending tournament.
Prior to his offensive explosion, the two-time league MVP averages just 9.3 points in the team’s first five games.
Yap regaining his shooting touch couldn’t have come alive at the most crucial time of the Hotshots’ campaign as the defending champions finally snapped a four-game skid and improved to 2-4 overall to get back in playoffs contention
The gunner out of University of the East also added seven rebounds to supply the much-needed help to foul-plagued import Marqus Blakely, who also churned out 23 points and 11 boards.
KIA, which missed once more the services of playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, dropped to a share of fifth to sixth spots in a tie with Talk ‘N Text at 3-2.
The Hotshots’ resolute defense held the Carnival to just 36.5 percent shooting from the field as guards Mark Barroca and Alex Mallari took turns hounding KIA starting playmaker LA Revilla.
The diminutive point guard out of La Salle managed to finish with an all-around game of 12 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. But he also had four turnovers, while shooting just 5-of-16 from the floor overall.
Jett Chang led KIA with 17 points, while Senegalese import Hamady N’Diaye had 13 points, 18 rebounds, and six blocks before fouling out late in the game.
Star Hotshots (89) – Yap 23, Blakely 23, Mallari 9, Devance 6, Pingris 6, Simon 6, Pennisi 5, Taha 5, Barroca 4, Reavis 2.
Kia Sorento (80) – Chang 17, N’Diaye 13, Revilla 12, Thiele 10, Dehesa 9, Bagatsing 6, Nuyles 5, Pascual 4, Alvarez 4, Ighalo 0, Yee 0, Deutchman 0, Parreno 0.
Quarterscores: 25-16; 51-34; 69-58; 89-80.