MANILA, Philippines - James Yap put in a personal season-high 34 points as he bucked a sore knee to power San Mig Coffee to a 106-82 rout of Rain or Shine in Game Two of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal showdown at the MOA Arena in Pasay on Friday.
Yap provided the needed firepower that fueled an awesome second half attack, enabling the Mixers to avenge their 83-91 defeat to the Elasto Painters in the series’ opener last Wednesday.
The two teams break the one-game deadlock in the league’s Christmas Day presentation at the same venue. The lone match is set at 5:15 p.m.
“We’re picture perfect in the second half,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone on their effort in the last 24 minutes netting them the biggest output – 68 points – by any team in a half in the tourney.
“Since we have three days off after this game, we shortened our rotation. We went small, putting the pressure on James (Yap), PJ (Simon) and Mark (Barroca) to play extra minutes and carry the load. And they did a wonderful job, especially in the second half,” Cone also said.
Cone practically shuffled only seven men and they all responded well, giving Rain or Shine lots of matchup problems.
Yap stood out though as he sizzled with 21 final-half points and went on to finish with his biggest output in nearly two years. He also logged a rare double-double game by collaring 10 rebounds.
“I watched at home the Game One tape and I noticed I was making it hard for myself by making all those drives. I forgot that I have good jump shots. I kept that in mind in this game,” said Yap.
The two-time MVP winner knocked in seven of 12 three-point attempts and four of nine twinners despite an injured right knee and facing the best backcourt defenders of Rain or Shine.
Barroca, Joe Devance and Simon contributed double-digit outputs for the Mixers who overcame two 11-point deficits early on, seizing control in the third period and refusing to relent till the end.
Falling behind by 13, 52-65, midway through the third, the Elasto Painters failed to recover and blew an opportunity to gain a commanding two-game-to-nil lead in the series.
“We just got frustrated with the calls. We felt they’re allowing too much contact against us while we couldn’t defend them with the same amount of contact,” rued Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“That started it all. San Mig got confident with their offense,” added Guiao, thrown out of the game with 4:06 left in the third for a second technical foul.
Barely beaten in the previous game, Alaska Milk worked harder to raise its game and went on to top Talk n Text, 100-88, in Game Two of their own semis matchup.
Jayvee Casio rifled in five treys and finished with a team-high 22 points while Calvin Abueva churned out another double-double game with 20 markers and 14 boards as the Aces sent their series versus the Texters back to scratch.
Game Three is set Wednesday.