By Adrian Stewart Co
Negrense guard James Yap is good to go for the Rain or Shine (ROS) Elasto Painters when they resume their campaign in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup beginning Wednesday, September 1, at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
According to Painters head coach Chris Gavina, the Escalante City, Negros Occidental-native Yap has finally joined the team’s 5-on-5 basketball practices for the first time in eight months.
“James Yap has been diligently working double-time to try to get himself physically and mentally prepared to thrust himself back into game mode,” Gavina said in an interview with Sports 5.
“We will slowly allow James to gain his stamina, rhythm, and chemistry with his teammates as we move along this week,” added the first-year Rain or Shine head coach.
The 39-year-old Yap, a two-time PBA MVP awardee, missed the Elasto Painters’ first six games of the all-Filipino conference as he went through arthroscopic procedure on his left knee during the offseason.
The Negrense guard was already on his way to full recovery when the PBA decided to postpone its games due to the imposition of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region earlier this month.
Yap, who is on the final season of his three-year contract with the Elasto Painters, had a career-low averages in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup as he normed 7.10 points and 2.10 rebounds in 10 games.
Aside from Yap, Gavina also shared that sophomore forward Vince Tolentino and rookie guard Anton Asistio are also on their way to recovery and could rejoin the team in the PBA restart.
“The positive effect of this break is it allows our players who were nursing injuries to get back to full health, but losing game rhythm is no easy thing to recover from,” Gavina said. “We just have to stay committed to how we can regain our peak form.”
The Painters started the All-Filipino conference with three straight victories before faltering badly in their next two matches. They won their last match prior to the PBA postponement for a 4-2 win-loss record./ASC, WDJ