RAIN or Shine will tread an even tougher road to the playoffs as it battles mighty San Miguel Beer without its resurgent star James Yap in their PBA Philippine Cup encounter on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off a 99-95 loss to Alaska that derailed their entry to the postseason and left them having to to face giants SMB and Ginebra in their last two games to qualify, the Elasto Painters take on the Beermen with one less player as they will miss the services of Yap due to a pulled calf muscle.
ROS coach Caloy Garcia said Yap sustained the injury in practice last Sunday.
“Bigla lang daw pumitik yung muscle,” the ROS coach said in a text message on the eve of the matchup against the Beermen that tips off at 7 p.m.
The 36-year-old Yap is having a resurgent conference, averaging 10.4 points, 1.3 triples, 3.3 boards, and one assist in nine games. The two-time MVP has scored in double digits the last six games, including in their loss to the Aces in a game where he put up 17 points along with six rebounds, two steals, and one assist in over 36 minutes of play.
The E-Painters will be two men down as Chris Tiu will miss his second straight game.
Garcia couldn’t tell the timetable for Yap’s recovery.
“Not sure how long (he’ll be out),” Garcia said.
The E-Painters, running fifth with a 5-4 win-loss record, have to win just once in their last two games to clinch a playoff berth outright and move a step closer to a Top Six spot that entails a best-of-three series spot instead of having a twice-to-win disadvantage against either SMB or Magnolia.