JAMES Yap is taking on a new mentality going to San Mig Coffee’s crucial Game Four encounter against Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
Shackled anew by the Elasto Painters daunting defense, the league two-time MVP vowed to readily adjust on the physicality of their opponents heading to Thursday’s game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Siguro ngayon kahit sundan pa nila (defenders) kami sa banyo, hahanap na kami ng paraan para umiskor,” quipped the San Mig star who was held to just six points in Rain or Shine’s 98-72 blowout win over the Mixers on Christmas Day, allowing the reigning Governors Cup champions to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Yap – along with teammates Marc Pingris and Peter June Simon – later told Spin.ph that inconsistencies in calls made by game officials cost them the match.
You won’t hear the same words again from Yap himself especially after the focal point of the team’s practice on Wednesday afternoon centered on how to adjust to Rain or Shine’s physicality.
“Nag-adjust na kami. Alam namin na walang mangyayari kung magre-reklamo kami ng magre-reklamo.”
Coach Tim Cone welcomed the new-found frame of mind of his top gunner.
“I am hoping that my players won’t get too roughed up. It’s something we can’t control. We can’t just play the referees that way. In a playoff series, we just got to put them away, and make sure we don’t get distracted,” said Cone.
“Bottom line is we can’t control the referees. We got to turn around and do the things we need to do to be successful. We gotta play better and we got to play harder.”
Yap did admit the Elasto Painters’ physicality, especially of defenders Jireh Ibanes, Ronnie Matias, and Ryan Arana, had gotten into his nerves.
“Yung depensa nila talagang hinahawakan na kami halos. Ako lang hindi makakilos kasi parang literal na nakaposas mga kamay ko,” said the pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental.
But taking on a much broader philosophy, `Big Game’ James declares himself ready to take on all Rain or Shine defenders head on.
Bring them on.