AS far as James Yap is concerned, the thought of being named alongside legendary PBA figures like Robert Jaworski, Sr., Ramon Fernandez, and Alvin Patrimonio, among others, on a list of the 40 greatest stars will be an honor he will forever cherish.
“Blessed lang talaga if ever makasama ako, saka siyempre masaya, dahil lahat naman ng mga players, ganun ang pangarap,” Yap told Spin.ph.
PBA officials have confirmed that a 40 Greatest Players list is being eyed to highlight its anniversary celebration when Asia’s oldest professional cage league loops kicks off its 40th season this October.
Should the plan push through, this would be the first time the PBA will come out with such a list since honoring the 25 greatest players of its first 25 years back in 2000.
The pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental said in his close to 10 years of pro basketball career, the idea of being bunched alongside PBA legends never crossed his mind.
“Actually, di ko iniisip yun (the idea of being named among the top 40 greatest PBA players),” he said.
But when Spin.ph asked him to share his thoughts on the possibility of making it to the elite list, his response was: “Grabe pala iyan, big deal iyan.”
In an unofficial poll conducted by Spin.ph, the former University of the East star leads the balloting on who among fans feel should make it to the Top 40 list outside the 25 Greatest Players previously named by the pro league.
At posting time, Yap has almost half of the 37,600 votes cast at 49.84 percent, with Ginebra star Mark Caguioa running second with 38.18% and Meralco's Danny Ildefonso a far third with 3.64%.
To cast your vote or see the full results, click here.
The 6-2 Yap, one of the top clutch shooters in the pro league today, currently owns five PBA championships, all with the San Mig franchise which selected him second overall in the 2004 annual draft.
He is just one PBA title short of tying Patrimonio, the longtime face of the Purefoods/ San Mig franchise, who won a total of six championships during his distinguished 17-year professional career that ended with a retirement ceremony on November 2005.
At 32, Yap said he plans to retire six years from now, hopeful that when that day comes, he’d be able to win more championships with his only PBA team.
Yap currently averages 13.1 points, a career-high 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 29 minutes this season, helping San Mig win its second straight PBA title last month when the Mixers bagged the Philippine Cup crown.
The Mixers also ruled the season-ending Governors Cup last year, beating the Petron Blaze Boosters (now San Miguel Beermen) in an epic seven-game Finals series.