SAN Mig star James Yap is thankful to San Mig's bench which stepped up to complete an easy 80-70 victory over Rain or Shine in Game Two - and afforded the Mixers' weary starters the luxury of a little rest.
“Ang sarap ng feeling na may konting pahinga sa championship (series),” said Yap after playing just 24 minutes in a win that levelled the PBA Philippine Cup championship series to one game apiece.
"Sana maging tuloy-tuloy itong ganitong trend (San Mig bench stepping up in the playoffs. Kailangan kasi sa championship, magtutulungan talaga," the two-time league MVP added.
The 6-2 Yap, who turned 32 on Saturday, finished with 13 points, including nine in a critical third-period run that enabled the Mixers to establish firm control of the game by opening several 17-point spreads.
Given Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s unique way of utilizing a 14-man rotation every game, Yap said San Mig coach Tim Cone has made it a point to keep the Mixers’ first group fresh throughout the Finals series.
“Pino-point out ni coach Tim na kailanganm ang first group hindi sunog kasi medyo mahaba pa itong series,” he said. “Good thing na yung second group, nagko-contribute, so yung first group nakaka-pagpahinga.”
Cone has used a 10-man rotation in the first two games of the series to keep Yap and his other starters fresh, knowing that they are coming off a seven-game semifinal series against Ginebra.
Yap sat out a lengthy stretch of the fourth canto as he watched the second group led by Alex Mallari and Justin Melton provide the energy on defense as well as some offense when open.
Mallari came through with eight points, four rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes while the high-leaping Melton added two points, four rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes of play.