AFTER a so-so stint with Rain or Shine in the Philippine Cup, James Yap went into action in the Commissioner’s Cup ready to deliver, his confidence bolstered by the chance to work on his physical conditioning during the conference break.
The 6-foot-2 Yap, a two-time MVP, proved he still has what it takes at 35, leading the defending champion Elasto Painters to back-to-back wins over NLEX and Mahindra for the early lead.
Yap opened the mid-season conference with averages of 19.0 points and 3.0 rebounds en route to bagging the first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for March 17 to 19, beating Meralco’s young backcourt of Baser Amer and Chris Newsome for the citation.
He came up with 26 points, his highest scoring output in over three years, as Rain or Shine opened its title-retention bid with a 113-105 win over NLEX and former Painters coach Yeng Guiao.
Flashing vintage form, Yap highlighted his hot-shooting night with five three-pointers, including a step-back triple that shook off Bradwyn Guinto and clinched the win for the Painters.
Two days later, Yap came off the bench to score 12 points, laced with three triples, as Rain or Shine scraped past Mahindra in overtime 99-95.
“I felt last conference, his knee wasn’t that good, pero nung offseason medyo maganda takbo niya sa practice,” Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said of the rejuvenated Yap. “He comes early, shoots the ball, nagda-dunk pa sa practice to show he’s healthy.”
Rain or Shine takes a weeklong break before returning to action next Sunday against Blackwater at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.