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    James Yap felt like a rookie again in his PBA comeback

    Jan 22, 2023
    James Yap
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    JAMES Yap felt like a rookie again in his first game back in the PBA for Rain or Shine.

    The 40-year-old was impressive in his comeback game, scoring 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The highlight of his performance was late in the second quarter when he drilled a long three to tie the game at halftime.

    Yap’s performance went for naught, however, as Rain or Shine lost to Meralco, 105-87, in the opener of the PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday at the PhilSports Arena.

    READ: Meralco spoils James Yap comeback for ROS

    Still it was a memorable game for the two-time MVP, who admitted jitters in his first PBA game since September 30, 2021 in the Philippine Cup semi-bubble in Bacolor.

    “Feeling ko, rookie ako,” said Yap. “’Yung feeling na na-feel ko before nung 2004 na kinakabahan, hindi ko alam kung kaya. Pero I’m happy na winelcome ako ng maayos ng mga fans. Thank you sa kanila. Siyempre, pati kay Coach Yeng [Guiao], binigyan uli ako nila ako ng chance sa Rain or Shine na makapaglaro ng basketball.”

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      Yap said he has been preparing intensely for his comeback, but was also careful to avoid aches and pains especially since he hasn’t been in competitive form for more than a year.

      “So far, okay naman. Three weeks straight na ensayo. Talagang naghahabol, workout, extra shooting, nagpapa-massage para lang walang sasakit sa katawan. Kaya dapat alagaan talaga para walang biglang masakit. Kailangan alagaan ‘yung katawan mo,” said Yap.

      Yap said he was also surprised with his 12-point second quarter to keep Rain or Shine in the game.

      The concurrent San Juan councilor, however, said it would have been better if Rain or Shine won the ballgame.

      “Hindi ko ineexpect. Basta ang akin, once na pinasok ako, ready ako. Kaya nung nasa sideline ako, kinuha ko na lahat ng gadget ko pampahilot para maka-warm up. Alam ko naman ‘yung pasok ni coach Yeng na last eight, seven minutes ng second quarter so alam ko na kung kailan ako magpapainit. Okay naman.”

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      “At least, happy ako na ‘yung pinaghirapan ko, nadala ko sa game. Shooting, extra work. Talagang very happy pero ‘yun nga lang, hindi maganda kinalabasan. Pero normal lang ‘yun. First game, excited, out of control kung minsan. I’m sure, itong first game na ‘to, may natutunan kami sa team,” said Yap.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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