THE mystery girl who captured the heart of basketball superstar James Yap has finally come out in the open.
Michaella Cazzola, the beautiful and charming lass from Florence, Italy, quietly slipped into the country over the weekend to watch her boyfriend play in the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
Shy and reserved, the pretty Italian refused to face the camera during the interview, and had to be repeatedly prodded by Spin.ph before finally agreeing to do it.
“I am so shy… I am pangit … If not you are James’ friend, I will not agree (laughed). Audio interview na lang only, please,” she told Spin.ph as she tried to speak the few Filipino words she has learned from her celebrated boyfriend.
An employee of Asian Development Bank, the 30-year-old Michaella described her relationship with the two-time PBA Most Valuable Player as colorful, describing James as "very sweet and quiet, thoughtful, and caring."
She said a common friend introduced them to each other last year.
“It was just magical. I don’t know. Everything started as friendship,” said the 30-year-old Italian with a giggle. “James is just so sweet. He is very honest, but very private, too.
“He has a very good attitude. He gets along well with everybody. He’s positive. He’s very private,” said Cazzola, who revealed that just like any ordinary couple, they, too, engage in healthy arguments from time to time.
She recalled James readily accepting her invitation when the Italian urged him to visit Florence last year.
“It was August when he first flew to Italy,” she said, revealing the two weren’t an item yet at the time.
“No, we were just friends that time. But I was already testing his sincerity,” Cazzola chuckled.
It was in September that she finally said yes.
“It was September last year. I forgot the exact date, coz I am not like the Filipinos who remember dates and numbers. But yes, it was September when we became … you know,” revealed Cazzola, adding her parents, Mauro and Francesca, have easily become at ease with her boyfriend.
“What? I am not a lucky girl to have him. Maybe he’s a lucky boy to have me as a girlfriend,” Cazzola said with a laugh.
Asked if she is aware of Yap’s celebrated past - his marriage to popular host-actress and presidential sister Kris Aquino and its subsequent annulment - 'Mick' suddenly turned serious.
“I am aware of that, very well aware. It’s past, he learned his lessons, I don’t know. But I don’t really think of the past,” she replied.
“We’re after creating a very beautiful future together!” said the Italian stunner, who normally sits at the uppermost part of the patron gallery section to stay away from the prying eyes of the public.
She disclosed James only revealed her to the public last June 20 via an Instagram picture of the two of them by the beach in his second trip to Italy, since he was waiting for the court decision about her marriage which was annulled last February.
“Because he really waited for his…” she said, unable to finish her sentence.
Asked if wedding bells are ringing soon, Cazzola giggled again and struggled to find the right words.
“Marriage? Oh my Gosh. I don’t know (laughed) It’s too early.”
Engagement? “Not yet, but you know, two people think about that, but not formal yet.”
But just before Spin.ph let her go, Cazzola dropped the bombshell.
“Maybe next year. Maybe the wedding will come next year,” she said. “You’d be the first to find out.”