JAMES Yap currently finds himself on opposite ends of the playoff picture with his former team - Rain or Shine in the upper echelon and Star on the other end - as the fight for PBA Philippine Cup postseason spots heats up.
But the former Star franchise player, whose Elasto Painters are running second with a 6-2 win-loss mark behind San Miguel Beer, believes the Hotshots, tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with Ginebra at 3-4, will eventually regain their groove in the latter stages of the eliminations.
“Ang Star naman, nu’ng andun ako, ganun naman lagi: sa bandang huli, humahabol yan,” Yap said after Rain or Shine's practice. “Nasa magandang position lang kami ngayon. Blessed lang siguro.
“Pero for me, hindi ko kino-compare,” he was quick to add. “Basta ako, focused lang dito sa Rain or Shine.”
A win for the Elasto Painters against the Beermen on Friday night will assure them of a quarterfinal berth and move them just a half-game behind the defending champion Beermen, who have won all but one of their eight games so far.
The Hotshots staying in eighth or moving up to seventh spot leaves the door open for a first-round playoff matchup against the E-Painters – and Yap doesn’t mind.
“Hindi naman ako namimili, pero kung Star man, eh di mas maganda dahil may chance kami na makabawi,” Yap said, referring to their 99-91 loss to the Hotshots in the regular season. “Hindi lang ako, kundi buong RoS. Exciting ‘yun pag ganun ang nangyari.”
“Pero hindi namin iniisip yun, kasi nu’ng first game namin, masyado naming iniisip ‘yung Star, ‘yung mga teammates ko masyadong iniisip ako nu’ng against sa Star so medyo hindi naging maganda ang laro naming lahat,” he added. “We must treat them as ibang team na hindi ko team dati para ma-execute namin ng tama ‘yung mga plays.”
“Mas maganda kung sila ang makatapat namin, pero hindi naman kami namimili,” the former league MVP continued. “Basta kung sino man ang makakatapat namin sa quarterfinals, ready kami.”