Yap keeps B-Meg alive with Game 5 victoryBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
With the season on the line, James Yap came up with his best game in the PBA Governors’ Cup last night as the B-Meg Llamados hacked out a 91-81 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and stayed alive in the best-of-seven title series at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The former two-time MVP dropped 30 points under heavy pressure from the Painters all night, spearheading a hard-nosed stand by the Llamados, who cut the Painters’ lead to 3-2 .
“Was it obvious?” Yap asked reporters in Filipino when the scribes reminded him of a punching foul on Jireh Ibañes in the first quarter that was the only black spot in his game.
Marcus Blakely contributed 24 points that went with 13 rebounds, and Yancy de Ocampo started out at center to scatter 14 and snare the same number of boards that gave the Llamados momentum going into tomorrow’s crucial sixth game.
“This was all about James putting us on his shoulders and carrying us,” B-Meg coach Tim Cone told reporters.
Yap scored 11 of his total in the first period before taking a mandatory three-minute rest for hitting Ibañes in the rib cage that declared a flagrant foul penalty 1 call.
Upon returning, Yap got back to doing what he does best.
“I offer this win to the No. 1 basketball fan, Ma’am Cory (the late former President Corazon Aquino),” Yap, who was once married to Aquino’s celebrity daughter Kris, said. “It’s her death anniversary today.”
Rain or Shine had the chance to clinch a championship for the first time in franchise history but the key personnel instrumental in taking the Painters this far simply could not rise to the challenge.
Import Jamelle Cornley missed 23 of his 34 attempts from the floor, and Beau Belga drew two technical fouls and was tossed out just after the halfway mark of the third period, creating a huge vacuum in the middle for the Painters.
Paul Lee, the Rookie of the Year, sat out the third straight game for the Painters, whose coach, Yeng Guiao, still talked with utmost confidence after the loss.
“Na-delay lang nang konti, pero amin pa din ito (We were stalled a little, but this is a cinch for us),” Guiao said as he rued their poor shot selection and the measly 16 free throws awarded them despite playing in attack mode all night long.
“I know it’s the judgment of the referees,” he continued. “I just hope they exercise better judgment next time. We also gave them 24 offensive rebounds, and that’s hard to survive.”
Game 6 is scheduled tomorrow also at the Big Dome.
Meanwhile, despite winning just two games in the PBA Governors’ Cup and failing to save Alaska from its worst finish, Luigi Trillo yesterday still kept his job as head coach of the Aces starting the 37th season next month.
Trillo will now be given the time he needs to whip the Aces into championship contenders again and get back their lofty status as one of the league’s powerhouses.
He will be the second official head coach of Alaska since Cone left the squad abruptly before the start of the current season. He took over from Joel Banal, who resigned after having little success as Cone’s replacement.
An official statement coming from Alaska said Trillo got the nod of team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, who personally interviewed two other candidates—former Shell coach Leo Austria and Letran mentor Louie Alas.
B-MEG 91—Yap 30, Blakely 24, De Ocampo 14, Barroca 9, Simon 7, Urbiztondo 2, Villanueva 2, Reavis 2, Gaco 1.
RAIN OR SHINE 81—Cornley 25, Chan 14, Arana 11, Cruz 8, Ibanes 6, Buenafe 5, Belga 4, Quinahan 4, Tang 2, Rodriguez 2, Norwood 0.
Quarters: 19-18, 44-41, 70-61, 91-81