Pringle-Romeo partnership will have its time as Simon says tandem with Yap still the duo to beat today
From Purefoods, San Mig, to Star, the James Yap-Peter June Simon tandem has remained deadly through the years. Jerome Ascano

NOT so fast seems to be the message James Yap and PJ Simon sent to Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle on Sunday night.

The Star backcourt duo reminded their younger Globalport counterparts that their old tandem is still a force to be reckoned with following the Hotshots’ 101-94 win over the Batang Pier in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.

For years, Yap and Simon have been known as among the best duos in the league.

But the new partnership of Romeo and Pringle has threatened to take their throne.

“Talent-wise, napakagaling nila,” Simon said of the Batang Pier duo. “Sinasabi lang namin sa sarili namin na time pa rin namin to.”

“Darating din ang time nila dahil sobrang galing talaga nila.”

The Hotshots duo, though, proved they still got it after putting up vintage performances to help their team advance to the semifinals.

The 33-year-old Yap, coming off a game where he showed he still has hops by executing a one-handed slam dunk, registered 17 points, eight boards, and one steal in 28 minutes.

On the other hand, Simon, 35, provided quality minutes off the bench, tallying 14 points, two boards and two assists against zero turnover in 19 minutes.

The numbers certainly didn’t pale against their younger Batang Pier counterpart.

The 23-year-old Romeo had 15 points on a paltry 5-of-21 shooting, nine boards, four assists, and two steals in 41 minutes, while the 26-year-old Pringle chipped in 16 points, four assists, and three boards, although he cramped up at one point in his 33 minutes on the court.

As a unit, the veteran Hotshots, perceived to be at a disadvantage in the transition game, outran their younger opponents with a 22-8 edge in fast-break points.

“Lahat motivated,” Simon said. “Hopefully ngayon sa semis, ganun pa rin ang focus at hunger namin. Ipakita namin na gusto pa rin namin manalo.”

“Napaka-importante ng title defense kasi parang sinabi sa amin ni coach na we own this conference and hopefully, kung makapasok kami ulit sa Finals,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos