WITH his back spasms already a thing of the past, San Mig import James Mays said he is excited to continue the team's proud championship tradition in the PBA.
The fit-again import is back to his deadly form, scoring 15 points while grabbing a new conference-high 32 rebounds in the Mixers’ 84-73 whipping of the Air21 Express in Game Three on Saturday.
The victory towed the Mixers to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, moving them within a win of advancing to another race-to-three-wins finale against top seed Talk ‘N Text.
The 6-foot-8 Mays said he’s motivated to lead San Mig to a third successive finals appearace after personally seeing the Mixers capture the Philippine Cup title in a 4-2 finals conquest of Rain or Shine.
“I think I was the first import (to arrive) here so I was here a little while. And it was good to watch my team win the (Philippine Cup) championship,” Mays said.
“To have a chance to help them (Mixers), I feel grateful and I’ll do my best and hope to achieve that,” he added.
Mays’ 32 rebounds were the most in a single game by any PBA player since Purefoods import Antoni Smith hauled down 33 boards in the 2005 Fiesta Conference against Sta. Lucia Realty.
His 19 offensive rebounds are also the second highest in a game in PBA history, next only to Michael Hackett's 20 (45 total rebounds), which he registered in 1985 for Ginebra.
The former Clemson standout said he is a lot more aggressive off the boards because his back feels a lot better.
“I would say I’m a lot better than I was a couple of weeks ago. Just the past week, I was sick and had a bad back,” said the 28-year-old Garner, North Carolina native.
“I was definitely not playing like this, but I’m just blessed to be able to come back and help my team.”
Mays has averaged 22 points and 24 rebounds in the semifinals series.