CHICAGO - Like so many athletes before him, James Yap found himself standing on the intersection of sports and politics when he filed a certificate of candidacy for councilor in the first district of San Juan.
While he doesn't seem to have any background in governance, Yap will not only triumph in that race, he'd probably breeze through as the top vote-getter among all the candidates.
And here's why.
Yap has a famous name, an intangible asset that once catapulted actor Lito Lapid and legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao to the sacred halls of our Senate chamber.
While most politicians try too hard to put their faces on print and in front of cameras for voters to have name recall during elections, Yap already has that advantage as a former PBA MVP plus the fact that he was once related by marriage to a powerful woman named Kris Aquino.
Anyone seeking office, regardless of position, needs an effective machinery. Yap has that, too, as he is running under the ticket of incumbent mayor Francis Zamora, who by way, is also a former La Salle basketball player.
While there is zero doubt that Yap will win in May, the big question remains: Will the people of San Juan win, too?
As shown by the tremendous strides Vico Sotto has done for Pasig, it is evident that our political landscape is desperate for young and energetic leaders willing to purge an old and recycled system plagued with corruption.
BUT IF HE CHOOSES TO HAVE HIS CAKE AND EAT IT TOO BY STILL INSISTING ON BEING A PBA PLAYER, YAP WILL FAIL HIS CONSTITUENTS.
I worked PR for two Cebu City councilors in the 90s and I know how difficult the job is and how long the hours can be. Unless Yap wants to play hooky and shows up only on Mondays for the council's regular session, then he can still allocate time for practice and game days.
But if Yap wants to stay as No. 1 councilor with an eye on the vice-mayoral or mayoral seat moving forward, he wouldn't have enough hours in a day to manage meetings, visit barangays, file resolutions, etc.
Once elected, the MVP will be so busy going to triple Bs.
Baptimisms. Birthdays. Burials.
By the time the long day of work and politicking is over, James would have already probably torn a ligament in his jaw for talking and eating.
"His future of playing with Rain or Shine is of course obligatory to his responsibilities if and when he wins with his new role in politics. It will be considered if it is something he can balance among his responsibilities as a professional basketball player," said Chris Gavina, the head coach of Yap's team.
I beg your pardon, sir, but if Yap wins, there is no "balance" that would allow him to perform both jobs concurrently at an optimum.
No one can serve two masters at the same time.
Yap's choices are simple.
He can either honor the people's mandate by performing the task he was elected to, with his full commitment and to the best of his abilities.
Or, he can stay in the PBA and see how much fumes are left in his 39-year old legs.
So instead of assembling what Gavina refers to as a "brain trust" to study the matter, RoS should just do Yap a favor and let him go to become the best public servant he can be, unhindered by the equally-gruelling duties of an Elasto Painter.
Give Yap's roster spot to another player who just wants to play basketball.
This is a win-win-win for Yap, RoS and one player looking for a chance.
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