JAMES Yap is so eager to face Star for the first time that he wants to be nothing less than at his best shape when he meets his former team.
After reading in reports that the Elasto Painters are scheduled to play the Hotshots on opening day on November 20, the injured RoS newcomer requested management to ask the PBA if it could move their game to a later date.
“Kinausap ko yung management at si coach Caloy, sabi ko wag muna dahil hindi pa tayo hundred percent,” Yap said after staying in the sidelines in their tune-up game against Blackwater on Thursday. “Nasa seventy percent pa tayo nun, so gusto ko hundred percent pag kalaban natin yun.”
“Masaya yun,” added the two-time league MVP, who spent his first 12 seasons with the Purefoods franchise.
E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia has informed the league they will play without Yap on opening day, and the league has decided to move it to a later date.
“I don’t want to put James in a situation na ang taas ng expectations ng tao then he’s going to play against his former team,” Garcia said. “I just told the PBA na pwede naman kami (sa ibang araw na lang).”
Yap, who underwent a minor arthroscopic surgery to clean the tissues in his left knee, said he is still one week away from joining the E-Painters in practice as he’s limited to strengthening drills and therapy for now.
Despite his absence, Yap likes his team’s progress.
“Alam naman natin ang Rain or Shine, malakas na team ‘to,” the 34-year-old cager said. “Gagawin ko lang dito paano lang ako makatulong sa kanila. Gawin ko yung best ko at syempre kailangan ko mag-adapt sa system nila. Hopefully mabilis.”