JAMES Yap was quick to repay coach Tim Cone’s trust in him as he helped San Mig earn a third straight trip to the PBA Finals.
The shooting guard broke out of his shooting slump Wednesday night to lead the Mixers to a clinical 99-83 victory over the Air21 Express in their do-or-die encounter at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum for the right to face unbeaten top seed Talk `N Text in the best-of-five title series of the Commissioner’s Cup.
Yap fired 11 of his 15 points in the first half to help the Mixers take complete control of the win-or-go-home match.
“Kahit sinong player kapag unang tira pumasok, nandun agad ang kumpiyansa,” said Yap, who converted on his first two three-point attempts that set the tone for the Mixers’ rout of the Express.
Despite him shooting just 17.2 percent from the field during the first three games of the best-of-five semis, Yap had been repeatedly advised by Cone to keep on shooting in the hope of regaining his touch during the course of the series.
“Yung attempts ko kasi sa first three games (of the series) parang seven lang (per game), so sabi niya (Cone) sa akin, dagdagan ko ng konti,” he said.
“So iniisip ko, once tumira ako, ipasok ko.”
After averaging just 4.6 points in the first three games of the semis, Yap began to hit his strides in Game Four where he scored 22 points, highlighted by four three-pointers in a 91-94 losing cause, before coming through with his Game Five heroics.
With one day to prepare against Talk ‘N Text in the Finals, Yap intends to stretch his hot-shooting in the title series.
“Basta iniisp ko lang, tira lang, ganun naman talaga eh, pag di pumapasok tira mo, tira pa rin para makuha mo kumpiyansa,” said the 32-year-old Yap, whose team is looking to win a third straight title.