SAN Mig star James Yap is not hitting the mark like he used to, but he's finding new ways to help the team's cause in other ways.
Heeding coach Tim Cone's advice, the team's resident gunner is putting a renewed focus on his defense and rebounding as the Mixers make their playoff push in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup.
“Ako naman susunud lang tayo kay (San Mig) coach (Tim Cone). More on defense ako ngayon. Siguro tinira ko nga anim lang (ngayon),” said Yap after the Mixers' 83-73 win over Alaska in their sudden-death quarterfinal playoff on Friday night.
And Yap seems to have embraced the shift in priorities.
“Second optipon na lang ang offense. Basta maka-stop na lang kami. Iba pala feeling pag naka-rebound at depensa ka, parang nakaka-shoot ka na din eh,” he said.
The two-time MVP continues to struggle with his shooting in the tournament, averaging career lows of 10.6 points and 30.45 percent shooting through the quarterfinals.
Yap, however, is averaging career-highs in rebounds (5.0) and steals (1.5) while taking on difficult defensive assignments to compensate for his offensive struggles.
However, the 31-year-old pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental will be counted upon again to take more shots for San Mig after his chief back-up, Allein Maliksi, went down with an MCL injury on Friday night.
That should begin in San Mig's best-of-five semifinal series against Meralco beginning on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.