PBA: James Yap eyes gradual return from long break due to pandemic

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2020 04:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Rain or Shine star James Yap knows he can't rush into action when he joins the Elasto Painters in practice after completing his quarantine period.

Yap returned to the country last week after vacationing in Italy with his family since June. He has to complete a 14-day quarantine period and return another negative COVID-19 test before being cleared by the PBA to resume training.

"Excited naman bumalik pero kailangan natin sundin ang mga protocol," said Yap during a recent appearance on "The Chasedown."

Yap, 38, has not played at all in 2020 after the Elasto Painters failed to make it to the playoffs of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup. Rain or Shine did not play in the 2020 All-Filipino Cup before all league activities were halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the former Most Valuable Player, the long break caused by the health crisis has its pros and cons for a veteran like him.

Yap had been looking forward to competing in the All-Filipino Cup, as he was in top physical condition leading up to the conference. 

"Ready na ako sana nitong All-Filipino," he said. "Pero 'yun nga, nagkaroon ng pandemic. Pero for me, sa age ko ngayon, nakatulong sa akin."

Yap, like other players in the league, initially welcomed the break as it gave them more time to rest and recover from nagging injuries. 

But the layoff went on longer than they expected.

"Medyo masyado lang matagal, kaya medyo kakalawangin ka rin," said Yap, who will be entering his 17th season in the PBA. "Hahanapin mo pa rin 'yung naglalaro ka."

"Siguro, one month for me is enough na kumbaga, sana one month na lang mas advantage sa akin 'yun para nakapagpahinga ang katawan ko," he added.

With gyms closed due to strict quarantine rules, players like Yap were unable to get in contact with physical therapists who would work on their injuries. The lack of actual games also took its toll on their fitness.

"So medyo hindi maganda for me. Sa tingin ko ha, sa basa ng katawan ko," said Yap. "Kasi kailangan mo rin talaga, kumbaga papalakasin mo lahat ng parts ng body mo eh."

Thus, Yap said he will take things slow when he returns to practice to Rain or Shine, so as to not overdo things and risk injury.

"Pagbalik ko, sinabi ko na sa trainer namin, na kailangan gradual ako, hindi pwedeng sabak agad. Masyadong matagal 'yung (break)," he said.