James Yap vows to come back stronger, be in shape before returning to PBA

Rey Joble

Posted at Jun 01 2022 10:05 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2022 12:14 PM

Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap is among the notable players left out of the roster of PBA teams ahead of the June 5 season opener.

But that doesn’t mean the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters are closing the doors on the legend’s possible return this season.

Yap is still in Italy, working out with football coach Alfredo Vergori, who also serves as his personal trainer.

Rain Or Shine’s head of basketball operations Caloy Garcia confirmed that Yap is set to return on June 27, but believes it’s not logical to put the league’s superstar in the lineup immediately.

“It would be unfair rin naman for Coach Chris (Gavina) if we immediately put James there. We want to see first how he performs in practice and make sure that he’ll be in tip-top condition,” said Garcia. “Marami rin kasing bago sa team, so we’re still establishing team chemistry.

“I think the most logical thing to do is for James to come back and play in the second conference. Magkaiba rin kasi ’yung nasa condition ka nga individually kesa sa nasa condition ka pero you’re practicing regularly with your teammates. It’s going to take some time to develop cohesion.”

Yap vowed that he’ll come back stronger – and better – than the previous showing he had where he played limited games in the second bubble.

“Hindi ako babalik kung alanganin condition ko,” wrote Yap, the newly elected councilor of San Juan, in an Instagram message with ABS-CBN News. “Medyo matagal rin akong walang laro.”

According to Yap, he has not yet seen his new teammates – rookies Gian Mamuyac, Shaun Ildefonso and Jhonard Clarito – in action, but has heard a lot of good things on the newcomers.

“Malalaman ko ’yan pagbalik ko, pero sa naririnig ko, magagaling daw at masisipag,” he said.

Yap spends six days a week in a gym as he believes he has a lot of catching up to do.

“Nagpapakundisyon talaga ako dito. Sunday lang pahinga ko,” added Yap.

For Yap, he wants to show up ready whenever he returns to the hard court.

More than the personal accomplishments he could possibly achieves, he has set a goal on helping his team reach the championship round.

Since getting traded to the team five years ago, Yap and the Elasto Painters could only reach as far as the Final Four and making the finals is the ultimate goal of the league’s unsinkable star.

“Ang goal ko talaga is makapasok sa finals,” he added.