Mixers, Aces rip foes, square series at 1-1By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After a little soul-searching, the old—and deadly—James Yap showed up for San Mig Coffee last night.
Yap, renewing his faith in his lethal outside shot, drilled in 7-of-12 triples and dropped 34 points in a 106-82 rout of Rain or Shine at Mall of Asia Arena that squared their PBA Philippine Cup Final Four series after two games.
“I saw the Game 1 tape at home Wednesday night and asked myself why I made playing the game difficult,” the former two-time MVP said in Filipino. “I told myself, ‘I can still shoot from the outside, and I will do it in Game 2.’
“And it worked,” concluded Yap, who was held to 11 points in the series opener after taking just two triple tries and making just 2-of-11 from the field in an 83-91 loss.
The overachieving Alaska Aces also knotted their best-of-seven series with defending champion Talk ‘N Text at 1-1 later in the night after breaking away in the second half for a 100-88 win.
JV Casio drained five triples and super rookie Calvin Abueva had 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Aces, who narrowly lost Game 1, 65-66, but won the second game with plenty to spare.
With Yap hitting his mark this time, the Mixers also dealt the Elasto Painters their worst defeat in the Yeng Guiao era.
The 6-foot-2 gunslinger also collared 10 rebounds and his offensive output was his highest in almost two years, when he scored 36 points against Talk ‘N Text on Dec. 26, 2010 in a losing effort.
San Mig actually rallied from an 11-point first-quarter deficit with a near-perfect second half as coach Tim Cone, knowing that a three-day rest lies ahead, extended his stars on the floor and played his entire starting lineup an average of 38 minutes.
And while the Mixers’ stars did all the damage on Rain or Shine, the Elasto Painters’ big guns fired blanks in the final two quarters, with super sophomore Paul Lee finishing with just seven points in 23 minutes and Jeff Chan starved to just 10.
As a team, the Painters were a woeful 37 percent from the field and Guiao attributes it to the way his boys lost focus after getting what he claimed was the raw end of officiating.
“(The blowout) was a result of a psychological breakdown on our part,” said Guiao, who was thrown out late in the third quarter and watched the rest of the game in the press room. “We just got frustrated with the calls.
“We felt that they (referees) were allowing too much contact against us, while we couldn’t defend with the same amount of contact,” he said. “That’s how it all started.”
Mark Barroca added 17 points that went with seven rebounds and eight assists.
SAN MIG COFFEE 106—Yap 34, Barroca 17, Devance 17, Simon 13, Pingris 9, Gonzales 6, Reavis 4, Ramos 3, De Ocampo 3, Pacana 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 82—Rodriguez 12, Quiñahan 12, Chan 10, Cruz 9, Belga 9, Lee 7, Matias 7, Ibañes 7, Araña 5, Norwood 2, Tang 2, Tiu 0.
Quarters: 18-27, 38-40, 75-62, 106-82
ALASKA 100—Casio 22, Abueva 20, Baguio 18, Thoss 13, Espinas 9, Jazul 7, Hontiveros 5, Baracael 2, Laure 2, Belasco 2, Reyes 0, Dela Cruz 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 88—Dillinger 26, Williams 13, Castro 12, Fonacier 10, De Ocampo 10, Peek 6, Carey 4, Alapag 4, Aban 3, Reyes 0, Alvarez 0.
Quarters: 21-27, 46-48, 74-68, 100-88