MANILA, Philippines – Meralco point guard Paul Artadi admires his fellow basketball player, San Mig Coffee's James Yap, for being able to maintain his professionalism in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) despite going through tough times in his family life.
Artadi was Yap's "partner in crime" during their UAAP days, having both played for the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors.
Their partnership continued in the PBA after they were both drafted by Purefoods until Artadi was traded to Ginebra in 2007.
"Sa UE talagang 1-2 punch kami eh, lahat ng pasa ko, sa kanya naman ‘yung shoot,” Artadi, who became a member of the Meralco Bolts in 2012, said in an interview with "Tapatan Ni Tunying's" Anthony Taberna.
He remembered the time when Yap was embroiled in a legal dispute with Kris Aquino over the custody of their son Bimby.
Artadi said that being a friend, he was concerned about Yap’s personal life.
But Artadi said the personal turmoil hardly showed in Yap’s professional life.
“Nasa Purefoods kami noon... sobrang nagte-text kami, 'O anong ginawa mo? Anong nangyayari sa 'yo?'” said the 5’9” point guard. “Pero kung makikita mo yung laro n'ya, walang pagbabago eh.”
Artadi pointed out that Yap even won his second Season Most Valuable Player award despite his legal battles with Aquino in 2010.
“Kung sa aking mangyari ‘yun, ‘yung ganong mga problema siguro ayaw ko nang maglaro eh… Sa kanya mage-MVP pa siya. So ibang klase ang paghandle nya ng pressure,” said Artadi.
Yap said he never brings personal problems to the hard court.
“Kung meron kamang problema sa personal mo na buhay once na lalabas ka ng bahay… iwan mo dun. Talagang wala kanang iisipin kundi yung trabaho mo. Pagbalik mo [sa bahay] dun mo na iisipin kung paano mo iso-solve [ang problema mo],” he said.
Yap’s marriage with Aquino was annulled in 2010. The basketball player has moved on with his life and now has a girlfriend in Italian beauty Michela Cazzola.
He eventually became friends with Aquino, who made peace with Yap early this year.