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THRIVING IN CRUNCHTIME

04:44 PM March 02, 2015

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Purefoods Star top gunner James Yap returned from a two-game absence by showing he can still score the big baskets at the most crucial juncture of the game.

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The two-time PBA Most Valuable Player did just that on Sunday against San Miguel Beer in a battle between two teams fighting for playoff survival.

Despite missing a potential game-winning three-point attempt in regulation, the 6-3 Yap rediscovered his shooting touch in the extension period, knocking down eight of his 15 points from that stretch to lift Purefoods Star to an ego-boosting 113-105 win over San Miguel.

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Yap was coming off a knee injury he sustained two weeks ago in an out-of-town game in Dipolog City.

But against the Beermen, Yap showed he still has the hops and the will to bring the Hotshots back to playoff contention with his huge buckets in overtime.

“Ganun naman ang team namin eh. Kung sino yung open, either ipasa mo sa open na tao or itira mo. Nangyari na na-open ako,” Yap said, referring to his two crucial three-point conversions that served as death blows to San Miguel on Sunday.

“Big Game” James’ vintage performance shoved Purefoods Star back to contention as it seized solo fourth spot in the standings with its 5-3 win-loss record.

Yap also earned the Accel-PBA Press Corps. Player of the Week for the period of February 23 – March 1, beating Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel de Ocampo for the weekly citation.

Although fans marvel at his shooting clinic against the Beermen, Yap credited teammate Marc Pingris for setting a screen that gave him the confidence to shoot from the outside.

“Ang sinasabi lang sa akin ni Ping, ii-screen niya ako, tapos mag-roll siya. So pag-open ganun naman kasi team namin,” he added. (RD)

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