James Yap continues to defy Father Time by dishing out spectacular plays leading to his first Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award for the 2019 Philippine Cup.
Despite a tight schedule that saw Rain or Shine play three games in five days, the 6-foot-2 Yap went on to average 13 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists to help the Elasto Painters stretch their winning streak to five heading to the two-week break.
The break is part of PBA’s commitment to support Gilas’ campaign in the sixth and final window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Yap, who turned 37 a day after Valentine’s Day, scattered 18 points behind his 6-of-9 clip from three-point zone, leading Rain or Shine’s fightback from a double-digit deficit to turn back NorthPort, 107-100 on February 8.
The two-time PBA Most Valuable Player’s stepback three over Paolo Taha with less than three minutes left put Rain or Shine ahead for good, at 102-100.
Yap had a quiet two-point output two days later, but contributed four boards in 18 minutes off the bench as Rain or Shine squeaked past Phoenix, 98-94. ROS’ victory handed Phoenix its first loss following a 5-0 start for the season.
Big Games James’ shooting struggle didn’t last long, rediscovering his touch on February 13 in a key matchup against his former team Magnolia at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Yap fired 18 points, including the game-winning three-point play off a foul by Rome dela Rosa to lift Rain or Shine to a 75-74 triumph against Magnolia.
Rain or Shine currently leads the tournament with a 7-1 record, inching closer to one of the two twice-to-beat incentives up for grabs in the All-Filipino conference.
Yap beat teammate Beau Belga, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo and Arwind Santos as well as Alaska guard Chris Banchero, Carl Bryan Cruz and Ping Eximiniano for the weekly citation for the period of February 5-13.
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