PUREFOODS Star forward Marc Pingris has been waiting for teammate James Yap to catch fire since starting the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on a shooting slump.
As if his shooting woes weren't enough, Yap, who is averaging just 28.6 percent field goal shooting, missed two games due to a knee injury he sustained in an out-of-town game in Dipolog City.
But on Sunday, Pingris’ wish was finally granted.
With his knee injury behind him, Yap put on a shooting clinic in overtime, knocking down two crucial three-pointers with the help of Pingris screens to extend San Miguel Beer’s misery in a 113-105 win.
“Sa wakas, 'nung nakatira siya (Yap) ng tres, sabi ko nga sa kanya, 'Nakabutas ka din,'” Pingris said of Yap, whose heroics saw him earn the Best Player of the game honors.
Yap fired eight of his 15 points in overtime to seal his first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation, beating out Ranidel de Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text.
Pingris admitted their roles in the team are clear and simple - Yap, along with Peter June Simon and Mark Barroca, are the main options on offense, but big men like him set the screen, play defense and control the boards.
“Sa team naman, ang first options eh yung mga scorers. Nandito naman kami para dumepensa,” explained the 33-year-old many-time PBA All-Defensive Team member.
“Chopsuey kami kung sa pagkain, kasi may shooters, may taga-depensa at rebounder, pero priority namin (on offense) is sila James, Peter and Mark, tapos kung may pagkakataon lang, saka kami su-shoot,” he added.
Pingris said he understands that Yap may have consecutive bad shooting nights, but his faith in the two-time league MVP doesn’t waver.
“Every game naman, 'yun ang laging sinasabi ko sa kanya (Yap), 'Relax ka lang, ako bahala mag-screen sa iyo,' kesa naman yung manggigigil ka sa tira mo,” added the former Philippine School of Business Administration forward.
Yap said Pingris’ constant reminders keep him within the floy of the triangle offense of coach Tim Cone.
“Ang sinasabi lang sa akin ni Ping, ii-screenan niya ako, tapos magro-roll siya. So pag-open, ganun naman kasi team namin,” said Yap, who currently averages 9.6 points per contest.
The Hotshots head to the All-Star break in fourth spot with their 5-3 record. They won't return to action until March 14 when they fly to Davao City to face league-leader Talk ‘N Text.