SEVILLE, SPAIN - A familiar face showed up at the lobby of the Melia Hotel late Friday night (Saturday, Manila time), surprising members of the large Philippine contingent.
San Mig star James Yap interrupted his Italian holiday with girlfriend Michela Cazzola to make the trip to this scenic city, saying he wants to show his support for Gilas in its campaign in the Fiba World Cup.
"Suporta lang," said the two-time MVP as he acknowledged the greetings from Gilas supporters who arrived here late Friday after the 23-hour trip from Manila via Dubai.
Yap, 32, had a far shorter trip, coming over from Italy where he has spent the past three weeks vacationing with his Italian girlfriend.
Cazzola stayed behind.
The PBA star was supposed to arrive much earlier but missed his scheduled flight from Genoa to Madrid after getting caught in traffic on his way to the airport.
Fortunately, he caught a direct flight from Genoa to Seville, which took just over two hours.
Yap said he will stay in this city to watch Gilas' first three games before returning to Italy on Tuesday. From there he will make the trip to Manila on Thursday in time for the start of San Mig's preseason camp.
Yap last played for the national team in the 2009 Fiba-Asia championships under Yeng Guiao, and said he isn't closing the door on a possible return to the national team.
"Tingnan natin kung kaya pa ng katawan," he said.