James Yap hits dagger vs former team for a change
MANILA, Philippines—James Yap is no stranger in knocking down big time shots that listing all of it down would be preposterous and that piece would be pages long.
Most of his clutch shots came when he was with the Purefoods franchise, so seeing him complete another heart-stopping play against Magnolia was just surreal.
Well, that’s what happened Wednesday night when Rain or Shine and Magnolia went down the wire in the PBA Philippine Cup after Yap converted a three-point play that gave the Elasto Painters the 75-74 win over the Hotshots.
Yap was traded to Rain or Shine for Paul Lee prior to the 2016-17 PBA season and in the more than two years since the shocking swap, the two-time MVP said he’s learned to settle down when he’s facing the Hotshots.
“Actually, I wasn’t thinking that I was facing my former team because if I did that you’ll just force yourself that you want to show off,” said Yap in Filipino Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“But we have to accept that it felt good hitting that game-winner against your former team and you were able to do it for your new team. That was a great feeling.”
Yap made that fateful shot with 3.2 seconds remaining after he faked out Rafi Reavis and Rome dela Rosa to get an open view of the rim from the free throw line from which he calmly drained a one-hander despite getting contact.
The ensuing free throw was simply automatic as Yap finished the game with a game-high 18 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter, as the league-leading and quarterfinals-bound Elasto Painters climbed to 7-1 record.
Yap added that his game-winning play wasn’t a statement in any form since thinking of it that way would just throw him off his rhythm.
“I never thought of it that way [being a statement] because once I think of it that way I might not have made the shot,” said Yap.
The shot was also an early birthday treat for Yap who will turn 37 on February 15.
“This is one of the best gifts, we’re at 7-1 and I’ll be celebrating my birthday soon,” said Yap.
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