SAN Mig Coffee star James Yap has been a wounded warrior since last season, battling through an assortment of injuries that range from back spasms to foot injuries.
His latest health setback is an inflamed elbow which, according to team doctors and therapists, will only heal after a long rest. But since San Mig is deep in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs, that is obviously not an option for Yap right now.
“Wala namang pagkakaiba, masakit pa rin siya. Pero wala tayong magagawa, semis na eh,” Yap told Spin.ph prior to the Mixers’ Tuesday afternoon practice at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
The two-time league MVP from Escalante, Negros Occidental has been wearing an arm pad both as a protection and to ease the pain, but he admits the injury has been affecting his shooting stroke.
That's the reason, Yap said, why he's shooting less and driving more in the playoffs.
“Nakatulong naman siya (rubber pad) kasi mas nabawasan yung sakit sa braso, para din maiwasang di ma-hyperextend," said Yap, who is averaging 10.6 points a game in San Mig's semifinal playoff against Ginebra while making just 32.6 percent of his shots.
"Pero siyempre, mahirap lang talagang tumira kaya mas madalas tayong mag-drive (to the basket),” added the former University of the East star, who is turning 32 next week.
But the armada of scorers in the team led by the vastly improved Mark Barroca has allowed Yap to focus more on other aspects of the game, hiking his rebounding average to a career-best 6.3 boards in the semis.
“Ang importante lang sa team he maging consistent sa defense, siyempre, malalaki rin sila dahil kay Greg (Slaughter) saka Japeth (Aguilar),” he said.
Yap and the Mixers are looking to take a 3-1 series lead when they clash with the Gin Kings in Game Four on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.