‘PING’ is finally back for defending champion Purefoods. Can ‘Big Game’ James be far behind?
After notching their maiden win for the season, another piece of good news awaits the Hotshots as coach Tim Cone disclosed star player James Yap will be back in training this week and play for the team’s next game against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
“James would be back in practice by Monday and be ready to play against Ginebra,” said Cone shortly after Purefoods’ 81-75 win over Globalport over the weekend in a PBA Philippine Cup game that saw the reigning champions rallied from as much as an 18-point deficit.
The two-time league MVP suited up for the team’s season opener against Alaska, but sat out Purefoods’ next two games against San Miguel Beer and Globalport due to what he initially thought was a calf injury, but was later diagnosed to be a pulled hamstring.
But Cone expects his 32-year-old franchise player to be back against the Kings on Friday as Purefoods looks forward at finally playing with its roster of stars in full throttle after Pingris rejoined the team in its match against Globalport.
Recharged following a three-week vacation, Pingris provided his usual hustle and energy for the Hotshots as he finished with nine points and 17 rebounds in 44 minutes of play in his first game for the season, while helping the team come up with a huge finishing kick to beat the Batang Pier.
Although back-up big man Ian Sangalang would be out for the rest of the conference as he is scheduled to undergo surgery by Nov. 10 (ACL injury), Cone looks a bit thrill seeing both Pingris and Yap back in harness.
“Except for Ian, we’ll have a full crew (by next week),” said the league’s all-time winningest coach.