By Adrian Stewart Co
Newly-appointed Rain or Shine (RoS) Elasto Painters head coach Chris Gavina aims to bring back the old form of Negrense guard James Yap in the upcoming 2021 PBA season.
According to Gavina, the 39-year-old Escalante City, Negros Occidental-native guard is just out of shape and he hopes to “squeeze out the best in Yap” at least before he retires from PBA.
“I think we need to focus more on his conditioning. I wouldn’t say he’s out of shape. He’s just not where he would even admit where he wants to be,” Gavina said in an interview with Spin.ph.
During the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Yap only logged an average of 16.95 minutes for Rain or Shine and tallied 7.10 points and 2.10 rebounds per game, far cry from his numbers before.
Former Painters head coach Carlos “Caloy” Garcia was heavily criticized by the fans of Yap for his constant benching of the PBA superstar the past few seasons even in games that he had strong performance.
“Everybody knows James played limited minutes due to some reasons, he also had injuries, so we need to double up on how we can get his conditioning back,” Gavina said.
“His deconditioning is a product of both (long break and limited minutes),” he added. “We’re going to get him back. James will be himself and we will work hard to achieve that.”
Gavina also knew that it was only the two-time PBA MVP awardee who knows how to win championship in the PBA owing to his multiple PBA titles when he was still with Magnolia franchise.
“I would love to see James play for Rain or Shine in crucial minutes of the games. Like a dying second of a close Game Seven match. It’s what he does best, James is best known for bailing his team in situations like that, remember?” Yap said.
“Plus I am sure the crowd, especially his millions of fans, are going to love that. Let’s face it, James is still the face of the league, and he achieved that status not because he is good looking but he is good at playing the game,” he added./ASC, WDJ