James Yap returns to high school roots in Iloilo for first time after almost two decades 
James Yap looks to flaunt his outside shooting for the Visayas All-Stars, complementing their paint-centered attack anchored by their towering frontline of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Asi Taulava and JR Quinahan. Jerome Ascano  

ILOILO – James Yap’s life has been an open book for the longest time, but there are still some things people don’t know about him.

While most know that he was born in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, the celebrated PBA superstar studied and graduated high school at Hua Siong College of Iloilo, a Chinese school in this Western Visayas city north of Escalante.

“Sa mga ‘di nakakaalam, dito ako nag-high school,” Yap bared in Ilonggo as he addressed the crowd at city hall where mayor Jose Espinosa III hosted lunch for the PBA All-Star delegation on Saturday on the eve of the third and final leg of the All-Star week at the University of San Agustin gym.

And Yap, who went to college at University of the East where he started to carve out a name as a prolific scorer, is relishing his return to his high school roots as he suits up for the Visayas All-Star team that’s taking on the Gilas Pilipinas team in the last leg of the All-Star week.

“Of course, excited ako kasi last time ko na maglaro dito is nung 2000 pa,” he added as he has drawn loud cheers and fan requests since his arrival in the city. "So excited ako na makita ko yung mga kaibigan ko pati mga dati kong teammates.”

Another thing that’s making a return is Yap’s status as the three-point shootout king after winning the anticipated side event over younger bets Terrence Romeo in the second leg in Batangas on Friday night, ruling the shootout for the first time in nine years.

Yap looks to flaunt that outside shooting for the Visayas All-Stars, complementing their paint-centered attack anchored by their towering frontline of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Asi Taulava and JR Quinahan.

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Slaughter, though, didn’t come with the bulk of the PBA delegation to Iloilo, but could catch up on gameday in time for tipoff at 6:30 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos