James Yap bounced back from his first scoreless game in seven conferences with a vintage 20-point performance. But everything went down the drain as the Star Hotshots came up short against the defending PBA Governors’ Cup champion San Miguel Beermen, 109-100, on Sunday night.
Yap was on the attack mode right from the get go hitting 11 of Star’s 20 points in the opening quarter. He cooled down in the second frame but he got it going again in the third period where the Hotshots made their move to close the gap.
The 34-year old superstar contributed 7 points in the third canto as Star was able to cut down the once imposing 20-point lead by San Miguel Beer to just 13 and even came within 5, 88-83, at one point in early in the fourth period.
The former 2-time PBA MVP, however, faded down the stretch as he was held down to just 2 points while the Beermen unleashed a finishing kick that killed any hopes of a Hotshots comeback.
Yap couldn’t figure out what’s ailing their team after falling to a 1-3 start.
“Hindi ko na rin alam [kung ano ang problema],” said a dejected Yap after emerging from the locker room. “Wala ng magawa. Andyan na, 1-3 na so move on and bounce back.”
Yap, who rediscovered his shooting touch, was only averaging a career-low 4 point entering Sunday night’s game.
While he didn’t sulk when he only played 14 minutes in scoreless stint in their lone win this conference against GlobalPort, Yap is leaving everything at the hands of their head coach Jason Webb.
“Hindi ko rin alam [kung anong changes ang gagawin]. Bahala na si coach (Jason) dun. Bahala na. Sya na ang bahala dun. Kami naman, sumusunod lang sa kanya. Ang akin lang, yung defense namin,” Yap said.
The Hotshots though played decent on defense where they even had a higher field goal percentage, 47 percent (38 of 81) to the Beermen’s 44 percent (42 of 95). The real culprit was their 25 turnovers, 10 of which was committed by their resident import Marqus Blakely. The Beermen scored 26 off those turnovers and gained extra possessions that proved to be the biggest difference maker.
Yap and the Hotshots could use the All-Star break to finetune their game as they won’t see action until August 12 when they face the NLEX Road Warriors. – By Alder Almo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo