JAMES Yap refused to dwell on Rain or Shine’s 94-89 loss to Alaska on Wednesday night, insisting the Elasto Painters have to waste no time turning their sights on their PBA Philippine Cup playoff against Blackwater on Friday.
The Elasto Painters squandered a fourth straight chance to clinch a postseason berth outright after giving up a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowing the Aces to turn the game around even without Calvin Abueva out on fouls halfway through the fourth.
Instead of going as high as fourth seed if they had blown out the Aces, the E-Painters are now left to face the Elite in a playoff for the eighth and last quarterfinal spot.
The result also spoiled another solid game for Yap, who finished with a team-high-tying 16 points embellished by three treys, three boards, and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench – despite nursing a flu. He had no turnovers.
But the two-time league MVP was quick to move on.
“Itong game na to, kalimutan na,” Yap said. “Focus na lang sa Blackwater. Ganun lang naman ang basketball.”
The E-Painters star had nice things to say even after questionably getting benched at a crucial juncture where the Aces started to make and complete their comeback.
Just as he was starting to heat up after knocking down the triple that put his team up, 86-79, with seven minutes and 18 seconds left, Yap surprisingly went out just two possessions later, at the 6:54 mark, only returning with 1:15 to go with Alaska already up by four.
But Yap insisted the trust among his teammates – and probably the coaching staff – should remain as solid at this crucial time.
“Kailangan tiwala lang sa isa’t isa,” Yap said. “Siyempre kailangan kumbaga solid kami as a team. Siyempre pag ganitong situation, dito masusukat kung gaano katibay ang samahan. Manalo, matalo, kailangan intact kami.”
E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia had already left the venue when reporters tried to reach him.