James Yap says Purefoods can learn a thing or two from Finals protagonists Alaska, SMB
Two-time MVP James Yap and the Hotshots hope to bounce back after a hard fall in the Philippine Cup. Jerome Ascano

FOR James Yap, simply looking at the Philippine Cup finals protagonists would show just what Purefoods needs to improve on.

“Kung sino ang nasa Finals ngayon, sila yung No. 1 and No. 2 sa depensa. At yun ang nakikita naming kailangan naming gawin sa second conference,” said Yap.

Yap said he has been following the PBA playoffs closely even after Purefoods was bundled out in the first phase of the quarterfinals by the Meralco Bolts.

And he noted that the one common denominator between San Miguel Beer and Alaska is defense.

Fresh from his vacation in his hometown in Escalante, Negros Occidental, the 6-2 Yap said there’s no doubt that crack in the Hotshots’ armor during the all-Filipino conference was their inability to play consistent defense.

“Kailangan naming i-push yung sarili namin at maglaro uli kami ng depensa,” Yap told Spin.ph on Tuesday, just before the team plunged into its second day of practice for the year.

San Miguel entered the Philippine Cup finals with a clinical four-game sweep of Talk ’N Text.

The Beermen have gone 13-2 in the all-Filipino, the league’s leader in limiting rivals’ scoring at 80.3 points per game.

On the other hand, Alaska survived a physical semifinal series against Rain or Shine to score a 4-2 triumph on Sunday. The Aces are the second best defensive team in the league, holding their opponents to just 81.4 points per game this conference.

Yap said defense was the hallmark of the Hotshots' run of four straight championships beginning in the 2013 Governors Cup on the way to winning last season’s grand slam.

“Nung mga championships namin before, lagi kaming nasa top two sa depensa at yun ang gusto naming maibalik kaya no way kaming magre-relax,” he added.

The Hotshots are still looking for their import for the Commissioner’s Cup, which opens on January 27.

Original choice Denzel Bowles, who led the team to the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup title, has been scratched off the list since he is over the 6 feet 9 inches height limit for teams that finished in the top eight in the Philippine Cup.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava