Yap suits up versus Petron
BY WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – When B-Meg, the reigning PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion, won last week against Talk ‘N Text, the Llamados did it with superstar James Yap spending more time on the bench with back spasms.
Yap, feeling much better now, expects to play when B-Meg tries to follow up its confidence-boosting win over TNT as it clashes with defending champion Petron Blaze today in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Yap said he’s more comfortable now with his back after joining the team’s practice session yesterday.
“I had enough rest, I’ll definitely play against Petron Blaze,“ said the 30-year-old Yap, a strong contender for his third Season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after winning it back in 2006 and 2010.
“It’s crucial time for us, for every team. This is the playoffs, every game is important, every win is big. So I’m ready to play,“ the 6-foot-3 Yap added as B-Meg takes on Petron at 7:30 p.m.
TNT and sister-team Meralco will face off at 5:15 p.m.
When the Llamados defeated the Tropang Texters (94-91) last Saturday, Yap was scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting as he played only in the first half for 14 minutes.
It was the first time he didn’t score since Oct. 22, 2004 in a Purefoods win against Sta. Lucia Realty (89-87) during the RP Cup.
Even without its superstar, B-Meg escaped with a win against TNT as import Marcus Blakely finished with 26 points with 20 rebounds, three assists, five steals and four shot blocks in a no-relief job.
B-Meg’s frontline was also a big factor as Marc Pingris, Raﬁ Reavis and Yancy de Ocampo combined for 34 points in the game where it controlled the rebounding (58-48) while holding its opponent to 32-of-92 shooting (34.8%).
The Llamados are currently at solo second with a 7-3 card, behind Rain or Shine – the leagueleader at 9-2.
Petron Blaze, on the other hand, is coming off a sorry 87-85 loss to Barangay Ginebra last Sunday when the Kings import Cedric Bozeman’s tear-drop shot found nothing but net with 0.3 second left.
Because of the defeat, the Boosters fell to fourth place with a 6-5 record.
Nevertheless, B-Meg coach Tim Cone is wary against Petron, saying: “It’s a big job for us to beat Petron, and if we can get the win, it would be a huge win to follow up out TNT victory.
They are a tough match up for us, but we feel prepared for them this time around.” Petron actually downed B-Meg in their lone meeting during the eliminations (92-80), where Jay Washington collected 29 points while import Eddie Basden had 22 points with 11 rebounds.
The Boosters, of course, now have a new reinforcement in Marcus Faison, who averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games.
As for Talk ’N Text, coach Chot Reyes said it’s important for them to win against Meralco, which remains a deadly opponent even though the Bolts are already out in the race for ﬁnals berth after losing back-to-back games in the semis, ﬁrst to Ginebra (89-76) and then to Rain or Shine (99-86) last Sunday.
“One miss and we die,” said Reyes, whose team lost to Meralco (105-99) last May 23.
The Texters will still play the Boosters on Friday, the Elasto Painters on Sunday, and the Gin Kings on July 18.
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