James Yap’s relationship with coach Caloy Garcia has always been scrutinized, most especially by netizens, with many questioning why Garcia apparently forgets the two-time PBA MVP in times needed.
Yap trended on Twitter last Tuesday night for the wrong reasons. Based on tweets, netizens were left befuddled as to why he was on the bench in the fourth quarter, when the GlobalPort Batang Pier were making a comeback.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters lost that bout, 113-114, and their win-once incentive in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals was blown, wasting the 16-point performance put in by the decorated shooting guard.
But it seems Garcia made up for that on Thursday night, in their do-or-die match with the upset-hungry Batang Pier.
Garcia fielded in Yap for over 32 minutes, and he got more than what he wanted. The 36-year-old showed his old, deadly form, erupting for 27 big points – built on seven triples – to lead the Elasto Painters to a 103-97 victory.
That outing is Yap’s best game in a Rain or Shine jersey since getting shipped from Purefoods back in 2016. Moreover, his explosion on Thursday night was his highest output in four seasons, as per stats chief Fidel Mangonon.
With that, Yap is nothing but thankful to Garcia, who texted him after Tuesday’s loss, most likely about that game.
“Well first of all, thank you kay coach Caloy sa tiwalang binigay niya today. Tinext niya ako pero wala na yun, okay lang yun. Sayang lang dahil masarap yung feeling eh, pag masarap kasi yung feeling iba eh, iba yung galaw, iba lahat.
“Hindi kasi ako yung player na magsasabi na ready na ako. Hindi ako ganun eh. Kaya siguro nakalimutan tayo. Tinext ako, sabi ko move on na at panalo tayo mamaya, buti na lang nanalo,” shared Yap after the win.
The Elasto Painters will now move to the semis, and will face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a best-of-five series. Rain or Shine will be locking horns with the league’s hottest team, as the Gin Kings are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak.
“Ako naman ‘pag ganyan kasi, ang motivation mo, siyempre kilala natin Ginebra, kalaban mo diyan anim. Kasama ang fans,” the 14-year pro said. “So, nasabi ko na ata ‘to before, masarap talunin ang Ginebra dahil marami magagalit sa’yo. Ayun. Basta ano lang kami, ready lang kami. For me masayang series ‘to, I’m sure maraming tao masisiyahan.”
This is the first semifinals appearance of the franchise under Garcia, and is also the first semis stint of Yap with the Elasto Painters. Given this, the 14-year league veteran is relishing the chance.
“Edi love love love kami ni coach Caloy dahil first time pala naming dalawa,” quipped the seven-time champion.
“Well, siguro I’m sure happy din si coach Caloy. Ako happy talaga kasi nakapasok sa semis kasi noong dumating ako dito, talagang nasa quarterfinals lang kami lagi and last conference, hindi pa ako nakalaro dahil na-injure ako,” he added.
“Lagi lang kaming quarterfinals, at least ngayon, baka time namin. At least, happy.”