The conference break gave James Yap enough time to work on his conditioning and a strong resolve to bounce back following a so-so stint with his new team Rain or Shine in the Philippine Cup.
No wonder, the 6-2 Yap has started the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup like a house on fire, leading the defending champion Rain or Shine with back-to-back victories over NLEX and Mahindra, respectively.
Yap opened the mid-season conference with averages of 19.0 points and 3.0 rebounds en route to capturing the first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of March 17 to 19, beating Meralco’s young backcourt of Baser Amer and Chris Newsome for the citation.
The 35-year-old Yap tossed in 26 points, his highest scoring output in over 3 years in Rain or Shine’s conference debut to seal a 113-105 win over Yeng Guiao and NLEX.
Flashing his vintage form, Yap capped his hot-shooting night with five three-pointers, including the step-back triple that shook off Bradwyn Guinto to eventually seal NLEX’s doom.
Two days later, Yap came off the bench to add 12 points, laced with three triples as Rain or Shine scraped past Mahindra in overtime, 99-95.
“I felt last conference, his (Yap) knee wasn’t that good pa, pero nung offseason medyo maganda takbo niya sa practice,” Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said of the rejuvenated Yap. “He comes early, shoots the ball, nagda-dunk pa sa practice to show he’s healthy.”
Rain or Shine, which is eyeing a successful title defense of the Commissioner’s Cup, takes a weeklong break before returning to action next Sunday against Blackwater at Ynares Center in Antipolo.