James Yap looking good in preseason, but says he's still adjusting to Webb system
So far, James Yap has looked comfortable in new Star coach Jason Webb’s run-and-gun, free-flowing system, where he basically has all the freedom to look for his shot. Jerome Ascano

HIS best offensive game of the preseason already speaks volumes, yet James Yap insists he’s still in the process of adjusting to Star coach Jason Webb’s system that will allow him to a revert to a familiar style of play.

“Ngayon naga-adjust pa rin ako, although 'yun 'yung laro ko before,” said the Hotshots gunner, who scored 17 points in their last tune-up game in the preseason, against San Miguel Beer on Saturday. “Kailangan pa rin i-practice kasi ilang years rin ako nag-triangle (offense) eh.”

“Sana bumalik 'yung komportable ako,” added Yap, who averaged 14.7 points in three exhibition matches.

So far, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard has looked comfortable in Webb’s run-and-gun, free-flowing system, where he basically has all the freedom to do his “million moves.”

Asked if he sees himself thriving better in this system than in Tim Cone’s deliberate Triangle offense, Yap didn’t answer directly.

“Kung sino yung ilalagay na coach dyan, rerespetuhin ko at gagawin ko yung sistema niya,” the 33-year-old cager said. “Yun naman ginagawa ko lagi eh. Kung ano yung sistema ng bagong coach, kailangan tiwala ka sa kanya.”

Marc Pingris echoed his longtime teammate’s sentiment.

“Kahit ano naman, okay sa akin eh,” the Hotshots forward said. “Kung ano 'yung nandito, 'yun ang gagawin ko: kung sinong coach ko at kung anong gusto niya ipagawa.”

“Hindi mo pwede i-compare yung dalawang coach, kasi syempre (nakatatak na sa) history yung isa eh,” he added. “Si coach Jason, bago pa lang din naman, so marami pa rin siyang kailangan patunayan, so kailangan din namin siyang tulungan.”

One Hotshot, however, who’s vocal  that he will thrive in the new system better is Alex Mallari.

“I like this one, personally, than the triangle — for my personal game, personal reference,” the lefty wingman said.

Still, it was a surprising remark from Mallari, who has blossomed under Cone and the triangle to the point he was rumored to be among those the American mentor wanted to bring along when he moved to Ginebra.

But Mallari said his and teammate Justin Melton’s personal game fit best with Webb’s schemes.

“Same like Justin, we like to get up and down. That’s our game.”

“We’ll see, though,” he was quick to add. “It’s hard to beat four championships in a row.”

Melton had a game-high 18 points, while Mallari chipped in 11 markers against the Beermen.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos