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MANNING UP

12:09 PM December 24, 2012

JAMES Yap coming up with a big game now and then is expected. Yet when he does it still amazes.

Like what he did against Rain or Shine last Friday in leading San Mig Coffee to an equalizing victory in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel that earned for him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period Dec. 17 to 23.

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In that game, Yap exploded for a personal conference-high 34 points and added 10 rebounds for his first conference double-double that helped boost the Mixers to a 106-82 win.

What makes the performance more noteworthy and earned him the scribes’ nod over Alaska’s Calvin Abueva is the fact Yap should have been hobbled by a strained right knee and bone spurs on his right ankle.

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“He’s been a warrior having to play through a myriad of injuries and he certainly came up with a big performance just when we really needed it to match his moniker Big Game James,” noted San Mig coach Tim Cone.

“He’s a remarkable player playing remarkable basketball and he can make the game so easy at times.”

For the two-time MVP, it was simply a matter of doing what he can for the team. “Kailangang mag-step up,” he stated.

Besides, he added, he wanted to give a sort of present to the fans in this most special of seasons. “Malapit na ang Pasko kaya maganda na sigurong gift sa mga supporters ng team at ng PBA,” he said.

Also, there’s his “measly” 11-point output in an 83-91 loss in the best-of-seven opener just two days before. “Gusto ko talagang makabawi,” he claimed.

His injuries still nag him, but not enough to prevent him from going 11-for-21 from the field last Friday, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. That’s a very far cry from his 3-for-13 clip in Game One, when he took just two three-point tries.

“Parang masyado kong pinahihirapan ang basketball noon, drive ng drive,” he admitted in the post-Game Two interview. “Naisip ko, parang nakalimutan kong may jumper ako sa labas. Iyun ang ginawa ko sa game na ito.”

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Yap was at his fieriest during the third period, where he drained three triples and scattered 16 of his markers that helped turn the tide firmly in San Mig’s favor.

Now, after a welcome break, Yap vows to try and dish out similar performances for the remainder of the series starting with Game Three on Christmas Day. “Na-refresh na,” said Yap, who spent a dayoff Saturday in Batangas.

That should come as bad news for Rain or Shine. (NC)

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