By ADRIAN STEWART CO
There is still no timetable on when Negrense star James Yap can make his return for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup being held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
According to Painters head coach Chris Gavina, the team is not rushing the return of the Escalante City, Negros Occidental-native Yap as he is still recovering from a minor surgery on his knee he underwent last May.
“There is no timeline yet on when he can join the team,” Gavina said. “I’ve spoken to him that we are not rushing him. We want him to be 100 percent before he can go full contact in practice.”
The first-year Painters mentor added that the 39-year-old Yap has yet to participate in the team’s full-contact practices, although he has been taking part in the 5-on-0 program drills.
“I recently got an update and hopefully, we can ramp up his skillwork and conditioning within the week. Maybe a full week of contact practice. He may be able to come back soon enough,” said Gavina.
The 17-year PBA veteran was hobbled by injuries the past few seasons as he hurt his groin during the 2019 season and was limited by strained calf during the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup bubble.
Even with Yap on the sidelines, the Painters started the season with 2-0 win-loss slate following an 83-82 escape over NLEX Road Warriors and 71-62 beating of Blackwater Bossing./ASC, WDJ