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by Waylon GalvezThe arrival of two-time MVP James Yap only made Rain or Shine shooter Jeff Chan a better player and not even the coaching change seemed to have affected his game.
That was evident when the former Gilas mainstay produced a gem of a game as he led the Elasto Painters to a come-from-behind 96-94 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A nine-year veteran, Chan was at his best in the payoff period when he scattered 14 as the E-Painters battled back from 11 points down (71-54) in the third quarter.
He delivered a big three-point play in the final 2.4 seconds that completed the team’s comeback and sealed the win for Rain or Shine, which snapped a two-game as it now sports a 4-2 record.
“Nakuha sa tiyaga,” said Chan, referring to the team’s comeback win and his sudden explosion.
That brilliance was something Chan wants to sustain as he intends to help the Elasto Painters retain the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title.
Even with the transfer of Yeng Guiao – the coach largely responsible for his transformation as one of the league’s deadliest shooters – Chan has not lost his drive because he’s confident that Caloy Garcia – Guiao’s long-time assistant – is already ripe to handle the team.
The appointment of Garcia, he said, assured continuity on the team’s system since the former served as assistant to the latter for nearly six seasons.
“Of course, very thankful na maganda yung nagiging bunga nung ginagawa namin during practice sessions, yung sacrifices namin to be in this position to compete for a title,” said Chan.
The arrival of Yap, Chan said, has made him a better player on and off the court.
The two deadly shooters also proved that they can co-exist under Garcia’s system.
Chan, in fact, insists that there’s no rivalry as they both want to help the team co-owned by Raymond Yu and Terry Que win another title before they fade into oblivion.
Besides, both are from Negros Occidental with Chan hailing from Bacolod City and Yap coming from Escalante.
Chan averages 11.33 points while Yap norms 11.67 points through six games in the midseason tournament.
Together, they have formed one of the league’s most lethal combinations, a pick-your-poison dilemma for the opposing defense, especially when both are on the floor with both their guns blazing.