James Yap hopes personal slump over after breakout game in rout of Phoenix
James Yap was happy to see his hard work pay off with his breakout game in ROS' romp over Phoenix. Marlo Cueto

JAMES Yap hopes Rain or Shine’s 120-99 rout of Phoenix Wednesday night signaled the end of a long personal slump as he tries to regain at least half of the same form that made him a two-time PBA MVP.

The 35-year-old Yap contributed 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range in the 21-point blowout win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to help the Elasto Painters get back on the track in the Philippine Cup.

It was the best game he had in a Rain or Shine uniform since finishing with 26 in a 113-105 victory against NLEX in the Commissioner’s Cup March of last year.

Yap admitted the breakout game is a good way for him to get his confidence back.

“Malaking bagay ito. Lahat ng pinaghirapan mo sa pagpapa-kundisyon at least, nagbubunga,” said the veteran wingman, who ended up going 8-of-10 from the field, aside from finishing with six rebounds.

“So pagpatuloy ko pa rin yung ginagawa ko or hihigitan pa para kahit paano ma-sustain or mahigitan pa ito.”

Despite a big drop in his game since coming over at Rain or Shine in a celebrated one-on-one trade with Star (now Magnolia) for Paul Lee, Yap said he never wavered trying to be in top condition notwithstanding his advanced age.

“Basta sa akin huwag lang mawalan ng kumpiyansa, pag-aralan kung ano yung pagkukulang mo. I’m not 100 percent pa sa kundisyon, kaya yun ang wino-workout ko palagi,” he said.

“Walang relax. Alam naman natin 35 na ako turning 36 next month. So just keep on working pa rin. Mapagiiwanan ka talaga kapag hindi ka nag-work hard.”

Yap’s timely contribution also came at a time when Rain or Shine needed a win, especially after losing its last two outings against TnT Katropa and Globalport.

With the victory, the Elasto Painters managed to even their record at 2-2 and tie the Fuel Masters in the middle of the standings.

“Nasa isip namin pag natalo pa kami dito, masyado na kaming nasa baba. Kaya ang reminder ni coach (Caloy Garcia), pag nanalo ang team nasa gitna pa rin kami,” said Yap.

“Sana magtuluy-tuloy nga at madala namin ito sa next game,” he said, referring to both the Elasto Painters and to himself.

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