JAMES Yap meets a familiar face in his first-ever semifinal appearance with Rain or Shine.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone was the architect of 2013-2014 PBA grand slam pulled off by a San Mig team led by Yap. Now, the two are on opposite ends as they try to lead their respective teams to the Commissioner's Cup finals.
Yap expects Ginebra to be ready under the leadership of Cone.
“Magaling ‘yun eh. Kilalang kilala ko si coach Tim. Pagdating ng playoffs, talagang magaling mag-adjust. Kailangan maging ready kami. Excited ako,” said Yap.
Yap had many memorable battles with Ginebra in the past, and he admitted he has extra motivation facing the Kings in the playoffs.
“Kapag ganyan kasi, ang motivation mo siyempre, alam naman natin ang Ginebra, kalaban mo diyan anim. Pati fans. Nasabi ko na before na masarap talunin ‘yung Ginebra dahil maraming nagagalit sayo.
Basta ready lang kami. For me, masayang series ‘to. I’m sure maraming tao ang masisiyahan sa series na ‘to,” said the two-time league MVP.
While Magnolia has reached the finals once since trading its longtime franchise player two years ago, Yap said he's not competing with his former team.
“Hindi ko naman iniisip ‘yun. Ako siguro, time nila ‘yun na mag-finals sila. Ako naman, hindi ko iniisip na naiinggit ako o kailangan kong tapatan ‘yung na-achieve ko. Basta ako, laro lang ako,” said the former University of the East star.
Even though the Elastopainters are the top seeds in the playoffs, Yap warned the fifth-seeded Gin Kings are in top form given their seven-game winning streak.
“Sobrang taas ng kumpiyansa nila. Hindi kami puwedeng mag-relax kasi seven straight wins. Mataas ang kumpiyansa nilang lahat. Kailangan maging ready kami kasi iba pagdating ng semis. Iba ang laro sa eliminations. Iba sa semis,” said Yap.