Star seeks ways to cope without James Yap in crucial Davao road game against Alaska
The Hotshots look to move back into a playoff position without James Yap. Jerome Ascano 

STAR seeks to cope without its franchise player as it takes on Alaska for playoff survival on Saturday when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup goes on the road at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao.

The Hotshots will be without James Yap, out for the rest of the elimination round due to a calf strain, when they face a tough test in the Aces in the Petron Saturday Special that tips off at 5 p.m.

Yap sustained the injury in the Hotshots’ blowout loss to San Miguel Beer last Sunday that dropped them below .500 with a 4-5 win-loss record, outside the magic circle of 8.

The Hotshots must draw extra production import Ricardo Ratliffe as well as locals Allein Maliski, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, and Mark Barroca to stay alive in the playoff race.

“I believe na pag tulong-tulong kami, kaya namin yun,” Pingris said. “Kasi napatunayan na namin eh.”

Hotshots coach Jason Webb believes they still have their fate in their hands.

“I really think that six wins gets you in,” Hotshots coach Jason Webb said. “Five gets in you into going to church dahil dasal-dasal dun.”

“We have a chance for six, but it’s not going to be easy,” the rookie mentor added.

Indeed, it’s a difficult task ahead for the Hotshots as they face another perennial contender in the Aces, who are running third with five wins and three losses.

The Aces, led by do-it-all reinforcement Shane Edwards and local workhorses Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel, are also eager to arrest a two-game skid. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos