JAMES Yap has a lot to be thankful for on his coming birthday after capping his best game against former team Magnolia with the game-winner.
Two days before he celebrates his 37th birthday, Yap completed the game-winning three-point play to lead Rain or Shine to a gripping 75-74 win over Magnolia on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
As far as Yap is concerned, Wednesday’s game was the best he had ever had against his former team since the Purefoods franchise traded him to Rain or Shine in 2016 for Paul Lee.
“Tingin ko ito (best game against his former team). Thank God na binigay sa amin ‘yung panalo na ‘to. Magandang gift ito,” Yap said.
Almost three years since the blockbuster trade, Yap said there is no extra motivation to beat a Magnolia side that was his home for 12 years.
“Actually, hindi ko na iniisip ‘yun,” said Yap, who won two MVP awards while playing for the Purefoods franchise. “Kapag iniisip mo ‘yun, nandoon ‘yung gigil, nandoon lahat, gusto mo magpakita.”
That wasn’t the case shortly after the trade, Yap admitted.
“Aaminin ko, nung mga bago pa lang na na-trade. Ngayon, two years (mahigit) na, kailangan ko rin mag-relax kasi laging gigil kapag sila kalaban. Maganda ‘yung kinalabasan,” Yap said.
Yap said the game-winner as well as Rain or Shine’s sterling run in the Philippine Cup will cheer him up on his birthday.
“Isa sa mga magagandang gift. Number one kami ngayon at magbi-birthday. Valentine's muna,” Yap said as he looked forward to the league break for the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“May chance na makapagpahinga ng konti."
And his birthday gift?
“Sana mag-champion kami as a Rain or Shine player naman,” Yap said.