JAMES Yap is on a month-long vacation in Italy, but he has taken the time to have some "preventive maintenance" on his problematic back.
In the middle of a well-deserved break with Italian girlfriend Michela Cazzola, the San Mig star has inserted sessions with Italian Olympic physiotherapist Filippo Mechelli, who did wonders to his back injury last year.
The two-time PBA MVP said he has felt no pain on his back at the end of a rigorous grand slam campaign with San Mig, though several sessions with Mechelli were more for preventive maintenance.
“Wala naman (back pain),” Yap told Spin.ph from Italy. Maintenance lang talaga.”
Yap actually underwent 12 sessions with Mechelli in June 2013 in Florence, Italy, where he reportedly paid a huge sum of money in order to get back to game shape after his game suffered because of constant back pain.
As a result, Yap missed just six of the 135 games over the past two seasons.
While he is thankful for San Mig’s team of therapists led by Nick Ocampo and Arcee Cua, who he credited for taking care of the Mixers during the recent PBA season, Yap said Mechelli’s different technique ensures his back won’t get stiff even this offseason.
“More on technique din eh. Ibang-iba sa ginagawa nila Arcee at Nick, kasi 'yung back ko matigas so meron siyang ginawa para lumambot,” explained the 32-year-old Mixers star.
Yap said the side trip to Mechelli is part of his preparation for the long grind next season, where San Mig will be gunning for a fifth straight championship, beginning with its title defense of the Philippine Cup.
The pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental averaged 12.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists this past season, emerging as back-to-back Finals MVP for the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors Cup while helping lead San Mig to only the fifth grand slam in PBA history.
San Mig won't begin offseason work until the middle of September.