Showing that age is just a number, James Yap has been the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ top scorer in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
But the two-time league MVP hasn’t been his usual self in the playoffs, averaging just 8.0 points per game on a horrid 6-of-24 clip.
Fortunately for Rain or Shine, though, they need not worry about opposing defenders focusing on Yap. Other Elasto Painters have willingly stepped up in place of the 37-year-old.
Such was the case in Game Two of their semifinal clash with Magnolia Hotshots – the franchise Yap steered to multiple championships in his first 12 years in the league – on Sunday night, as Ed Daquioag took the spotlight.
The third-year guard out of University of Santo Tomas dropped 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting on top of three rebounds and three assists. He led the Elasto Painters to a 93-80 victory and to the huge 2-0 lead in the race-to-four series.
“Siguro nagkakataon lang. Kasi binabantayan din nila si James eh, tina-trap nila si James,” said the humble, 6-foot-3 Daquioag, who logged in nearly 31 minutes.
“So ni-review namin, may mga nalilibre talaga sa’min eh.”
“Sinabi ko naman sa kanila na pagdating ng playoffs kailangan ready, kailangan tulungan tayo, kasi hindi tayo magiging successful kung isang tao lang gumagawa,” said Yap, who’s only been norming 7.7 points this playoffs.
Game Two marked the second straight time that another Elasto Painter shone brightly; rookie Javee Mocon had been the star of Game One with 15 points and 10 rebounds. For Daquioag, this only proves how depth can play a big factor in a series.
“Siyempre, malaking bagay samin yun, malalim nga kami. Hindi alam ng kalaban kung sino mag-step up every game.”
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