James Yap admits PJ Simon defense kept him from getting into any rhythm
James Yap faced a constant double team in his first match against Star. PBA Images

JAMES Yap insisted he wasn’t overeager at all after he failed to impress in his first game against former team Star as Rain or Shine surrendered a 99-91 decision in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Sunday.

The former Purefoods franchise player was held to single-digit scoring for the first time as an Elasto Painter, scoring just nine points after making just three of his 10 shots against the Hotshots in an anticipated matchup he earlier declared as a “big deal” for him.

“Hindi naman (gigil),” Yap said. “Nakakapanibago lang. Ganun talaga.”

“Excited ako for this game, kaso talo kami,” he added. “Pero ganun talaga ang laro, may mananalo, may matatalo. Bawi na lang next game.”

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Asked if Star’s familiarity on his playing style worked in the Hotshots’ favor, Yap played down the notion, saying it was the Hotshots’ offense that clicked better.

“For me, okay lang naman. Maganda lang yung laro nila talaga,” the two-time league MVP said. “Kumbaga they moved the ball very wall kaya nahirapan kami dipensahan. Marami rin silang shooters. Yun ang nag-dictate dun sa laro.”

Yap, however, admitted finding it hard going up against the defense of Star, specifically longtime teammate PJ Simon.

“PJ is PJ, magaling naman siya,” Yap said. “Bigay mo na talaga sa kanya. Nagdo-double sila for me. Kaya yung mga tinira ko, kaunti lang.”

“Naka-focus rin yung defense nila sa akin,” he added. “Once na naka-poste ako, dino-double nila ako kaya pinapasa ko ‘yung bola ko sa mga big men namin. Maganda ‘yung game plan nila.”

Still, Yap received a warm welcome from the Hothots fans, hearing chants of ‘Thank you, James’ throughout the game.

“Thank you rin sa kanila,” he replied. “I’m sure marami naman nasiyahan sa game. Ito rin naman ‘yung game na hinihintay ng lahat. Kaya sa lahat ng fans, sa Star, sa Rain or Shine, I hope na nag-enjoy sila. Ganun talaga ang laro.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos