MANY people who have not seen James Yap for sometime agree that he has lost considerable weight since they last saw him.
Personally, it was with some amount of envy that I complimented him on his tiny waist and fatless torso, not to mention his flawless skin.
“Is that compliments of Vicki Belo?” I asked James when he, Snow Badua and I got together last weekend during the birthday celebration of former senator and now swimming advocate Nikki Coseteng at her La Vista home in Quezon City.
James shook his head.
“Cathy Valencia,” he said, leaning forward to give us a better view of his porcelain-like skin. Then he grinned.
James said there had been no conscious effort to slim down. He is not on a diet, and neither is he having extra physical exercises.
* * *
“Your waist is really so tiny you look more like a dancer than a basketball player,” butted in Snow, as he shifted the subject to Petron Blaze cager Marcio Lassiter, who was injured in the last Petron-San Mig Coffee game.
“Do you feel guilty?” he asked James, who figured in a collision with Lassiter.
The Petron recruit was thrown off the floor and landed on his back. He was rushed to the hospital and went through a three-hour battery of tests. A hairline fracture on his spine was later detected.
The doctors assured Lassiter and his team that, although the injury involved the spine, it was not serious or career-threatening.
* * *
“Without deliberately intending to harm, accidents happen,” James said. “It’s all part of the game. Hindi ko naman sinasadya ’yun (There was no intention on my part to harm him). Marcio is my friend. He used to practice with us before. I hope he gets well soon and returns to action.”
James heaved a sigh of relief when the doctors gave Marcio a clean bill of health and permission to travel.
Snow said Lassiter left for the United States recently for the Christmas holidays.
In Game 1 of the semifinal round between San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine, it was James’ turn to get injured.
But he wasn’t limping or complaining of any pain when he walked into the Philam Homes Clubhouse on West Avenue to regale the press and the fans who were waiting for him during my birthday celebration. If he didn’t make an appearance that night, I would understand.
But he made good his commitment, tired as he was and maybe even depressed because his team lost that night. That, I must admit, was touching.
* * *
That same night, one of the hot topics was Barako Bull’s new coach who, according to a scribe, was likely to be Pido Jarencio.
“He’s in the short list and he fits the Barako profile,” the scribe said. “As we speak, I heard that he’s meeting with a Barako official.”
The short list includes Ato Agustin, Frankie Lim and Boyet Fernandez.
One of them will replace Bong Ramos, who took over Junel Baculi’s old job on an interim capacity.