IT’S back to reality for James Yap and the rest of the Purefoods Star Hotshots (formerly San Mig Super Coffee).
The former two-time PBA Most Valuable Player said he already deliberately ‘erased’ the championship hangover from his mind the moment the team began undergoing twice-a-day practice a month ago as part of its preparation for the league’s 40th season that kicks off on Sunday.
“For me, wala na yun (championship hangover). Move on na, panibagong conference at season na uli ito,” Yap told Spin.ph just before the Hotshots’ practice Friday at the Ronac gym.
“Ngayon, nagta-twice-a-day (practice na) kami, so back to focus ulit. Tapos na yung saya, pahirapan na naman ito.”
The Purefoods franchise is coming off a dominant run last season that saw it clinch the league’s first Gran Slam in 18 years after chalking up its fourth straight PBA crown under all-time winning coach Tim Cone.
Yap was at his best in the team’s last two championships that earned him back-to-back Finals MVP. He finished the season averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.
The 6-2 sweet-shooting forward however, downplayed his performance and reiterated that he’s just part of the team that will again try to extend its championship celebration this season.
“Lagi ko iniisip sa sarili ko na makatulong lang sa team, huwag mo lagyan ng pressure ang sarili mo kasi nakakasira ng laro yun eh,” added the star shooting guard out of University of the East.
Yap and the Hotshots failed to win in seven of their preseason games, although tha hardly affected the 32-year-old cager.
“Basta mag-practice ka lang ng mabuti. Saka basta alam mo na binigay mo best mo,” he said.
Purefoods lost its first five games against top Korean professional ball clubs, bowed to rookie team NLEX Road Warriors in Binan, Laguna two weeks ago, before ending up with a draw against Barangay Ginebra last week.