By Adrian Stewart Co
Negrense guard James Yap of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters is planning to retire from professional basketball after the 2021 season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
In an interview with entertainment columnist Dolly Ann Carjaval, the Escalante City, Negros Occidental-native said he wanted to hang his sneakers when he reached the age of 40.
“Tigulang na ‘ko,” said Yap, who turned 39 years-old last February 15. “When I turn 40 [next year], I [am] plan[ning] to retire from PBA already.”
Yap, a former high school standout from Hua Siong College of Iloilo, has been with the PBA since 2004, when he was selected second overall by the Purefoods (now Magnolia Hotshots).
The former University of the East Red Warriors star stayed with the Purefoods franchise for 12 years where he won seven PBA championships, two PBA MVP awards, four PBA Finals MVP awards, and one Best Player of the Conference trophy.
The Negrense guard then was suddenly moved by Purefoods to the Elasto Painters in 2016 in a blockbuster trade for Paul Lee. He had an injury-hampered career with the Rain or Shine.
Painters head coach Carlos Garcia, for his part, believes that Yap remains a vital part of his rotation for the upcoming PBA Philippine Cup, which is scheduled to start on April 9.
“I am confident that James can still make a difference,” Garcia said in an interview with PBA.ph. “In fact, we made some special plays for James and even made some adjustments on how we’ll run our patterns.”
“Kaya malaki pa rin talaga ang contribution niya. The biggest factor here, of course, is the age because as players get older, you really need to manage their health condition,” he added./ASC, WDJ