TIM Cone knows James Yap like the back of his hand, and vice versa.
Yap expected Cone to clamp down on him and not allow the two-time MVP to get into any rhythm early on Sunday during the Rain or Shine-Barangay Ginebra tussle in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Unfortunately, Yap was quick to the draw.
The veteran gunner drained a three-pointer for his first basket in the second quarter and was spot on from there on as the Elasto Painters pulled off a 108-89 win over the Kings to join idle TnT Katropa on top of the standings.
Yap hit another trey just before the end of the opening half to give his team a 49-31 lead from which the Elasto Painters never wavered.
He ended up hitting 3-of-5 from three-point range to finish with 13 points.
The native of Escalante, Negros Occidental later disclosed hearing Cone telling the Kings exactly what to do the moment he entered the game.
“Naririnig ko si coach Tim na (sinasabi) kailangan yung depensa nasa harap ko lang. Parang concerned siya na baka biglang maka-shoot ako at tuluy-tuloy na. Siyempre kilala niya ako,” said Yap, who won five championships while playing under Cone at Magnolia (formerly San Mig Coffee).
“Ibig niyang sabihin, unang tira ni James dapat hindi maka-shoot kasi baka magkaroon ng kumpiyansa.”
And it’s exactly what happened.
“Kaso naka-shoot ako nung unang tira kaya medyo kumpiyansa na,” said Yap.
Other than offense, Yap also took pride in his defense against the Kings, a matter that didn’t escape the attention of coach Caloy Garcia.
"One thing that’s good today he played excellent defense siya yung naghe-help when (our) import is having problem on the other side,” noted the Rain or Shine mentor.
“Yung hinihingi ko sa kanya na dumepensa siya, binigay niya today.”
Yap echoed his coach's words.
“Sinabi nga niya sa akin good defense. Sabi ko naman sa kanya, ‘Okay ba coach?’ said Yap proudly. “Kailangang i-develop yung defense ko at yun ang wino-work out ko. Sana nga tuluy-tuloy na.”