MANILA, Philippines -- Yeng Guiao has no doubt that James Yap can contribute to Rain or Shine's cause in the 2022-23 PBA Governors' Cup, even if the former PBA Most Valuable Player is coming off a prolonged break.
Yap returned to action for the Elasto Painters in the last conference of Season 47, having last played in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup. In his first game back, he put up 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench in Rain or Shine's 105-87 loss to the Meralco Bolts.
He scored 12 of his points in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beating triple that tied the game at 54. The Bolts took control in the third period, however, with Yap limited to just two points in the second half.
Still, his performance in the second frame was a "good sign," according to Guiao.
"Last six-minute stretch, I think he scored 12 points. That's a good sign for us," the coach said. "That means we can have another guy coming off the bench, who can score and be a threat."
"I guess kung merong positive side to this loss, it's maybe James' game," he added. "He was able to come back, and at least for those six or seven minutes, he was able to hit his stride."
Yap's return also marks his reunion with Guiao, who coached him in the national team including in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. This is his first time to play for the fiery coach in the PBA, however.
"[I'm] excited," said Yap. "Alam niyo naman lahat sistema ni coach Yeng. Binibigyan niya lahat ng opportunity mga players."
"Kumbaga talagang ready, kasi si coach Yeng walang first five 'yan eh, paiba-iba yang first five niyan. Sa kanya pag open ka, itira mo 'yan," he added. "Happy na nag-abot kami ni coach Yeng dito sa Rain or Shine."
Guiao is confident that Yap can build on his strong start to the conference, noting that the veteran is in good condition despite his layoff. Yap had taken time off from basketball to start a political career, and was elected to the San Juan City Council last year.
"Sabi ko nga maski sa practice, I have no problems with him getting in shape. Physically, attitude-wise, wala namang problema kay James," said Guiao.
"I don't see see any problem pagdating sa samahan namin. Importante lang talaga is makuha niya talaga 'yung stride niya," he added.
PBA Season 47 games can be streamed live and on-demand on iWantTFC with a Premium subscription, available worldwide except PH and US.