Two-time MVP winner James Yap emphatically said so when asked if he’s playing in their crucial faceoff with the Petron Blaze Boosters at the resumption of the PBA Governors Cup semifinal round at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
He’s still hurt with a back spasm, but he insisted he’s playing and he could well add inspiration to the B-Meg Llamados as they go a crucial win versus the embattled Boosters in their 7:30 p.m. tiff.
“May konting sakit pa rin. Pero naka-practice ako,” said Yap, unproductive in playing 14 minutes in their most recent game versus Talk n Text.
But thanks to Marcus Blakely’s solid all-around performance, the Llamados overcame injuries to Yap and JC Intal, topping the Tropang Texters, 94-91, at the MOA Arena Thursday.
The Llamados seek to stay right behind the front-running Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as they go for a follow-up win over the Boosters.
Coach Tim Cone said they would need all the help they can get facing the back-to-the-wall Petron Blaze team.
Petron moved on the brink of elimination following a heart-rending 85-87 loss to Ginebra Sunday.
Three full games off the pace, the Boosters need to sweep their three remaining games to avail themselves of the outright playoff incentive of the “4-of-5” rule.
“It’s a big job for us to beat Petron,” said Cone.
“They’re a tough matchup for us, but we feel prepared for them this time around,” added Cone whose troops succumbed to the Boosters, 80-92, in their previous meeting in the season-ending tourney.
“If we can get the win, it would be a huge follow-up to our Talk n Text win,” Cone also said.
Blakely delivered 26 points, 20 rebounds, five steals, four blocks and three assists, powering the Llamados to their come-from-behind three-point victory over Talk n Text
“That was teamwork,” said Blakely trying to downplay the impact of his game.
“We had a lot of different aspects shown in the game. Our bench played well and helped a lot,” Blakely pointed out. (SB)