MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -- Purefoods Tender Juicy completed only the 3rd sweep in finals history with a masterful 86-76 win in Game 4, clinching the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup crown in front of more than 17,000 fans Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
James Yap proved why he’s the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the conference as he carried the Giants anew to their 8th title overall and 5th All-Filipino crown. Purefoods thus tied Crispa Redmanizers with most number of All-Filipino titles.
Yap scored 18 points including a back-breaking trey that sealed the victory for Purefoods.
Purefoods joined Swift (1992 Third Conference vs. Seven-Up) and Northern Consolidated Cement (1985 Reinforced Conference vs. Manila Beer) as the only teams that registered a 4-0 sweep in a best-of-7 finals series.
“Masayang-masaya ako at nakuha namin ito. Para sa Purefoods fans ito,” said Yap, who was also named the Handy Flex Finals MVP by the PBA Press Corps.
Roger Yap added 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists while Kerby Raymundo contributed 13.
Rookie Rico Maierhofer scored all of his 12 points in the second half, 9 in the third where he helped the Giants to get some cushion after a 40-all halftime score.
“Chapter closed, destination reached, mission accomplished. Now we can celebrate,” said Giants head coach Ryan Gregorio, who bagged his third PBA crown. He is the first Purefoods coach to win two All-Filipino titles.
“It’s not easy at all. The first 3 games could have gone either way. But we allotted extra motivation for tonight’s game,” Gregorio added.
The Giants came out firing in the game as they erected a 35-22 lead before Alaska unloaded an 18-5 bubble to tie the count at 40-all by the end of the first half.
The Aces even took a 44-40 lead early in the third before Maierhofer spearheaded a 17-4 exchange for a 57-48 lead.
Alaska kept on coming back and last threatened at 65-68, before James Yap and Roger Yap joined hands for a crucial 7-0 bomb for a 75-65 spread with 4:55 left in the game.
Willie Miller tried to ignite a late rally for Alaska as he buried a triple to slice the lead at 76-81, but James Yap answered with his own trey to seal the win, 84-76, 1:48 remaining.
Sonny Thoss had his best game in the series for Alaska with 19 points and 12 rebounds but his efforts were not enough to extend the series into another game.
Miller had 17 points but was 6-of-17 from the field. LA Tenorio contributed 11 markers.
James Yap is RP Cup’s best
Yap, a Negros Occidental native, won his first Best Player of the Conference (BPC) honor, beating Alaska’s Willie Miller and Kelly Williams of Sta. Lucia Realty.
The 28-year old Yap drew strength from the votes from media, Solar Sports and PBA Office to be the first player to win the BPC honor despite not being in the top five of the statistical points (SPs) category.
Yap, the 2005-06 MVP winner received 221 points from the statistical points, 591 from media, 128 from players’ votes, 150 from the television coveror and 150 from the PBA for a total of 1,380 points.
The two-time MVP Miller, who already won this title twice in his career, finished second with 925 points followed by Williams with 476.
“Siyempre masayang-masaya ako dahil blessing ito,” said Yap, the first Purefoods player to win the honor since Rey Evangelista, who also won the award in the 2002 Governor’s Cup.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa teammates ko, sa management at sa coaching staff sa tulong nila para makuha ko itong award,” he added.
Yap also dedicated the honor to his mother-in-law and former President Cory Aquino, who passed away last year.
Beermen forward Arwind Santos finished fourth in the voting with 457 points followed by Devance (397) and Talk ‘N Text’s Mark Cardona (245.)