IT will take quite a while before James Yap makes his debut in a Rain or Shine uniform. Make it two games to be exact.
The two-time PBA MVP said he’ll likely miss the Elasto Painters’ first two outings in the season-opening Philippine Cup as he continues to recover from arthroscopic surgery performed on him during the off-season.
“Nagpapalakas pa tayo and nagpapakundisyon,” Yap, traded by Star for Paul Lee in the offseason, said shortly after the league’s 42nd season formally came off the wraps on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters won’t play their first game under new coach Caloy Gacia until Wednesday (November 23) against TNT Katropa. They won’t have their next game until a week later (November 30) opposite Mahindra.
If everything goes according to plan, Yap could play his first game with his new team will be on December 4 against Barangay Ginebra.
Yap, 34, said he’ll be practicing with Rain or Shine for the first time on Monday.
“Sa Lunes pa lang ako magsisimulang mag-practice (with the team),” he said. “Pumupunta naman ako lagi sa practice pero more on rehab and strengthening ang ginagawa ko.”
Originally, Rain or Shine was supposed to play on opening day against Star, pitting Yap against his former team.
But team management requested that the match-up be played on another date to give Yap enough time to recover from surgery. Instead, the game was reset for December 18 at the Big Dome.
Yap was involved in the biggest trade in the off-season in exchange for Paul Lee following the one-on-one deal Star had with Rain or Shine.
The second overall pick in the 2004 Rookie Draft, Yap delivered a total of seven championships in a 12-year stint with the Hotshots before being traded.