PUREFOODS is back to what it does best in this PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Top gunner James Yap said he and the rest of the Hotshots are far more concerned about playing defense as they try to redeem themselves from an early exit during the Philippine Cup playoffs.
“Okay naman ako, nandun na yung energy at kundisyon ko (to play defense). Saka gusto lang naman namin maibalik yung defense na nawala sa amin last conference,” Yap told Spin.ph on Monday.
“Sa defense kasi dun kami nananalo ng championships.”
After opening its title defense with a rousing 83-70 win over GlobalPort last week, the defending champion now braces for a tough defensive match-up against Philippine Cup runner-up Alaska on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-2 Yap said the effort the Hotshots showed to open the midseason conference is what the team hopes to see on a nightly basis as it bids for back-to-back Commissioner's Cup titles.
“Siyempre, strong start talaga. Bawal ang mag-slow start. Eh last conference ganun din ang simula namin kaya di kami naka-recover. Kaya ngayon, go hard na lagi,” said the two-time league MVP.
The pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental coach Tim Cone said has spiced up the team’s offense since the arrival of old, reliable import Marqus Blakely.
“Kailangan din more on run-and-gun. Pero kung walang fastbreak (opportunity), balik sa triangle. Iyun ang lagi naming pina-practice,” he added.
The Hotshots ranked 11th in fastbreak points during the all-Filipino tournament with their measly 7.4 points average per contest.
But with Blakely holding the fort for first-choice import Daniel Orton, Purefoods has the pieces to run at every opportunity.
“Iyung energy niya (Blakely), saka yung hustle niya, lahat kami nadadala kaya maganda 'yun,” said Yap, who turns 33 this month.