MANILA, Philippines - The Tim Cone and James Yap combination has proven to be a perfect mix.
Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap has thrived in Tim Cone's triangle offense, which helped his team grab a firm hold of the no. 2 spot in the Philippine Cup standings care of a five-game winning streak.
Cone said that Yap, who is averaging 18.67 points per contest, has yet to fully take advantage of the triangle -- a scary thought considering the body of work that he has already done so far.
They will face off with Talk 'N Text in the coming week in a game that could very well be a preview of a playoffs match, but in the meantime, let's take a look at what happened in the games during the past week in the rundown below.
Meralco vs Petron
Meralco Bolts dealt an ailing Petron Blaze Boosters squad its third straight setback following a dominating 95-81 win. Sol Mercado and Reynel Hugnatan scored 22 apiece for the Bolts.
The Boosters continued to play without their top 3 centers and struggled mightily on offense. Arwind Santos tallied another double-double grabbing 13 boards but scoring only 10 points.
Best Player: Mac Cardona (16 pts, 10 asts, 9 rebs, 1 stl)
Cardona's all around effort helped secure the victory for Meralco and though he tallied 10 dimes, it was still his scoring that made a difference late in the game. He scored on 2 baskets late in the 4th quarter to help seal the win.
Ginebra vs Talk 'N Text
Ginebra San Miguel followed up its win over cellar dweller Global Port with a statement victory over league leaders Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 104-101. 6 players scored at least 9 points for Ginebra who was leading most of the game.
It was almost a sure victory for Ginebra but a late three-point conversion by Larry Fonacier pulled the Texters to within three points with just a few seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, it was the last basket the Texters would make that night.
Best Player: Mark Caguioa (22 pts, 11 rebs, 1 ast)
Caguioa channeled his inner Jaworski when he came back to the game after sustaining a cut in his upper left eye. He bled heavily and had to leave the game in the 1st quarter. But staying true to the team's never-say-die spirit, he went back to the playing court and led his team to victory.
Air21 vs Alaska
Mike Cortez delivered another solid performance for his new team scoring 12 points and dishing out 11 assists including the pass to Mark Isip that was the deciding basket of the game, 104-103.
Rookie Calvin Abueva, after two so-so outings, also came out with a double-double performance with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 2 steals and 3 blocks.
After the game, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo pointed out how his prized rookie has been the target of rough plays. He filed a formal complaint to the league that led to yet another referee suspension and a Php 10,000 fine slapped on Rob Reyes for hitting Abueva's face in a loose ball play.
Best Player: KG Canaleta (21 pts, 5 rebs , 3 asts, 1 stl)
Canaleta, an off-season acquisition from Ginebra, has played well with his new team throughout the entire conference so far. He and John Wilson now enjoy more touches and more playing time and it has paid dividends for the Express.
Petron vs Rain or Shine
Petron Blaze Boosters gathered themselves after a 3-game losing skid and deals Rain or Shine its 3rd loss in the conference, 96-86. 6 players finished with double figures for Petron, who also saw an injured Danny Ildefonso suit up despite nursing a shoulder injury.
Rain or Shine made a rally in the 4th quarter but the Boosters buckled down on defense to arrest its losing streak.
Best Player: Chris Lutz (19 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts, 1 stl)
Lutz has been one of Petron's most consistent players in the conference averaging 16 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the Philippine Cup.
San Mig Coffee vs Barako Bull
San Mig Coffee Mixers is the hottest team in the league right now after pummeling the Barako Bull,93-73, for its fifth straight win that helped them claim the no. 2 spot in the standings.
Barako Bull played for the first time without former head coach Junel Baculi after the franchise's surprise move to replace him with assistant coach Bong Ramos.
Best Player: James Yap (22 pts, 9 rebs, 3 asts)
Big Game James scored 18 points in the 2nd half to help his team pull away from Barako Bull and extends the Mixers' winning streak to 5.
Talk 'N Text vs Meralco
Talk 'N Text goes back to its winning ways after a minor setback against Ginebra, beating sister team Meralco 109-98.
Sol Mercado led the way for the Bolts with 28 points and 6 assists, but Meralco did not have enough in them to keep in step with the fully loaded Texters.
Best Player: Kelly Williams (19 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls, 1 blk)
The 2008 PBA MVP's all around effort helped Talk 'N Text maintain a firm hold on the no. 1 spot in the standings.
Rain or Shine vs Air21
Rain or Shine stopped the surging Air21's winning streak with airtight defense for a 71-62 victory in their out of town encounter.
Air21 got double digit outputs from Canaleta, Isip, and Cortez but didn't get much more from the rest of the squad.
Best Player: Larry Rodriguez (8 pts, 8 rebs, 4 blks)
Rodriguez's effort on the glass and on the defensive end was one of the keys to Rain or Shine's victory.
RAPPLER'S ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Calvin Abueva vs Alaska (17 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks, 2 stls, 1 ast)
The Beast bounced back from two sub-par performances but still failed to deliver a win for his now-struggling ball club. He is also expected to miss their next game against Ginebra due to an infected nasal according to a report on Spin.ph.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR
vs Meralco (5 pts, 4 rebs, 1 ast, 2 blks)
vs Rain or Shine (14 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast)
Washington has been the subject of trade rumors amid the struggles of Petron Blaze Boosters. He picked up his play in their win against Rain or Shine but has failed to consistently 'show-up' in games. He has the tools to be one of the most dominant players in the league but his demotivated game is keeping him from going over the hump. Perhaps a change of scenery (or of uniform) is in order.
San Mig Coffee
The San Mig Coffee Mixers is on a hot streak and is set to face league-leading Talk 'N Text this week in a battle for the top spot in the standings. Can James Yap and the rest of the Mixers keep the streak alive? - Rappler.com