TWO of today's top PBA gunners went at each other on Sunday night. And in the end, it was the 'The Spark' who got the better of his veritable shootout over 'Big Game James.'
Mark Caguioa outscored James Yap in their one-on-one duel as Barangay Ginebra edged out defending champion San Mig Coffee, 96-88, in a battle of Commissioner’s Cup marquee teams before a huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Caguioa topscored for the Kings with 25 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point territory, two of them serving as huge cushion for the league’s most popular team at the height of a furious Mixers endgame rally.
Yap finished with 21 points and was 4-of-11 from beyond the arc, but his back-to-back three-pointers in the final two minutes had the Mixers breathing down the Kings' neck coming home.
But on this night, there was no denying the reigning league MVP as he and the Kings pulled off one over the former two-time MVP and the defending champions.
Caguioa, who also had seven rebounds and five assists, later played down the shootout, but appears to relish his rivalry with Yap.
“There’s always a rivalry. May mga fan bases yan. There’s gonna be fans of James Yap, there’s gonna be fans of Mark Caguioa and hindi magpapatalo ang dalawang yan,” said Ginebra's acknowledged heart and soul.
Yap had three assists and three rebounds, and appears uncomfortable talking about the rivalry being hyped between him and Caguioa, with whom he’s close with outside the court.
“Sa akin naman I don’t think may rivalry kami. Nagkataon lang talaga na lahat naka-focus sa amin,” said the shooting guard out of University of the East.
“Basta we’re just doing our thing inside the court. Personally, sa akin walang rivalry. Kakulitan ko nga yang si Mark,” added the San Mig Coffee star.
“Ang importante lang is to perform like tonight.”