SAN Mig Super Coffee coach Tim Cone said James Yap and PJ Simon’s benching for the most part of the second half of Game Two was down to fatigue which he felt caused the two stars to lose their rhythm against Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday night.
The Mixers lost to the Texters, 76-86, in a game where Yap and Simon hardly saw action in the second half when Talk N Text built and maintained a double-digit lead.
Yap, who had 17 points in 29 minutes in Game One, played just 18 minutes and scored six points in the second game, while Simon, who had 16 in 30 minutes in the opener, suited up for 25 minutes and wound up with a measly four points.
“James and PJ were playing tired tonight and if we had made an earlier run I would’ve put them back in,” said Cone, who also benched his stars as a way to prepare for Game Three on Tuesday and beyond.
“I’m trying to think about five games. I’m trying to keep these guys fresh and ready and playing for five games,” the American mentor said.
“In a series, you have to have big-picture thinking,” the most-titled coach in the league added. “We’re trying to think championship. It’s about winning three games for us and whatever way we can do it, we’ll do it.”
Yap actually made his presence felt in the first half when the shooting guard buried a trey that knotted the count at 33, the closest the Mixers got the whole game, before he played just three minutes after intermission.
Simon, on the hand, played just nine minutes in the second half.
In their absence, rookie Justin Melton stepped up, scattering 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter.
“I just felt that tonight, James and PJ were a little bit off alertness-wise and that’s usually (because of) fatigue and I thought Justin was playing extremely well,” Cone said.
“I would’ve loved to try to win this one tonight, and I thought our second group was playing really well.”
Marc Pingris also had fewer than usual playing time with just 26 minutes, prompting rookie forward Ian Sangalang to deliver, contributing seven points in 21 minutes.
“We tried to get back in the game with our second group, but we just couldn’t cap it off,” Cone said. “But Ping, James, and PJ will be ready come Game Three.”