PBA: ‘Nervous’ James Yap felt like a rookie again in return
MANILA, Philippines—James Yap turned back the clock with a vintage performance on Sunday night during Rain or Shine’s 105-87 loss to Meralco in the PBA Governors’ Cup opener.
Yap tallied 14 points built on a sleek jump-shooting performance that delighted the crowd at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Last played on Sept. 30, 2021, the two-time Most Valuable Player admitted that he was tense the whole contest.
“I felt like I was a rookie. I was feeling the same way that I did back in 2004. Nervous. I don’t know if I could still do it,” he said.
“I’m just happy I was welcomed by the fans. I’m so grateful to them, and of course to coach Yeng (Guiao) for giving me a chance to still play basketball,” he added.
A member of the league’s 40 Greatest Players, the 19-year pro also dedicated his return to his constituents in San Juan City, where he is now also serving as a councilor.
Yap’s scintillating performance was a sight to behold for everyone in attendance, including Guiao who feels that the veteran’s showing was among the few silver linings in the blowout.
“I guess if there’s a positive side to this loss, it’s James’ game. He was able to come back, and at least for those six, seven minutes he was able to hit his stride.”
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Yap said of his performance. “I was just trying to be ready for the moment I am called into the game.”
Yap’s last game before Sunday night was during Rain or Shine’s quarterfinal match against Magnolia in the 2021 Philippine Cup staged in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“I’m happy that I was still able to perform well. The result may not have been nice since we lost, but I’m sure we’re going to bounce back,” said the seasoned Yap, who totes an impressive resumé that features seven PBA crowns, including a rare Triple Crown sweep.
The Painters hope to barge into the win column against TNT this Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.