Mark Caguioa earns Cone praise for keeping up with hot-shooting James Yap
James Yap and fellow former MVP Mark Caguioa go head-to-head. Dante Peralta

AN old, familiar face haunted Tim Cone in the third quarter of Barangay Ginebra’s PBA Philippine Cup encounter against Rain or Shine on Sunday night.

What he did was to match him up with another recognizable figure.

As James Yap began hitting his strides for the Elasto Painters, Cone called on veteran Mark Caguioa and had him take on the league’s two-time MVP one-on-one during a crucial stretch in the second half of their game at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Caguioa’s entry somewhat cooled down ‘Big Game James’ and prevented the Elasto Painters from pulling away before the Kings made their move down the stretch for a rousing 81-74 comeback win.

The defensive job earned Caguioa a post-game praise from Cone himself.

“I thought Mark Caguioa did a good job on him (Yap) actually, and Mark got back on him a couple of times at the other side,” noted Cone.

[See Yap unbothered after late-game benching]

Yap finished 10 points, seven of them during the third period when the Elasto Painters took control of the match after trailing the Kings for most of the first half.

But Cone had a ready answer for him in Caguioa, who countered Yap by coming through with four points at a time when the 34-year-od superstar from University of the East was starting to wax hot from the field.

“It was kind of fun watching the two legends play against each other, head to head,” said Cone.

Still, the Ginebra mentor remains awed with Yap, who in the past has tormented Barangay Ginebra with heroic efforts while still playing for rival team Star.

“We have a tough time matching up to him. They’re giving him a lot of isos (isolations), and he’s very good at that, like they said, ‘Man of a Million Moves,’” said Cone, who coached Yap with the Hotshots.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The multi-titled mentor admitted not being used to seeing Yap in a different playing jersey other than Star.

“He’s in a different uniform, That’s really strange,” said Cone of Yap, who was traded by Star to Rain or Shine for Paul Lee during the offseason.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos