JAMES Yap can't hide his frustrations over his latest injury setback.
Arguably the PBA’s most popular cager, Yap was forced to sit out the final stretch of the Star Hotshots' 98-117 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Sunday after sustaining a strained right calf muscle.
The sweet-shooting gunner from Escalante, Negros Occidental was having his best scoring game in the current PBA Commissioner's Cup, tallying 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting before sustaining the injury.
Yap’s fiancée Michela Cazzola was the first to notice the frustration.
“I thought he didn’t hurt himself that much. He’s frustrated, of course, but what can you do?” Michela said. “He’s frustrated, but he didn’t say much. You know him naman, he’s not really talkative.
"He’s frustrated coz it’s the last two games (of Star in the elimination round). He knows it’s important,” she added.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) employee bared the injury is quite serious, saying the two-time league MVP can barely walk two days after hearing 'something pop' in his right calf.
“He cannot walk. He limps, he is limping. Oo, and he’s not gonna play for three weeks. First week is complete rest then after that he needs to do strengthening,” she said.
Being away from basketball is quite an agony for Yap, according to Cazzola.
“He gets bored when he is not playing. You know how basketball is his life. He hates not moving but he needs to, you know, in the next few days,” she said.
“He’s just always at home. Yesterday he was in the hospital. But today, he just stays at home. He needs to,” she said.
Cazzola also shared the calf injury keeps Yap from driving, the reason she lent his personal driver, Kuya Rommel, to the Star Hotshots top gun.
“He can’t drive. His legs are so painful and the fact that he injured his right (calf) means he can’t really drive. It’s impossible. So I lent him my driver muna,” said Cazzola, who also inspired Yap’s Mototechnik company business, a local distributing arm of famous Italian motorcycle brand Vespa.
“Yesterday, he went to the treatment. He really can’t drive. He tried to, but he can’t. So, I said he needs to have my driver,” said the Italian beauty.
Cazzola, who is pregnant, bared Yap hopes to be well enough to join his teammates in practice starting on Wednesday. “He will not practice of course, but he wants to be at the gym to show support. He’ll be at practice,” she said.
Knowing Yap, Cazzola said he will do everything to get back the soonest, hopefully in time for the playoffs, in the event Hotshots get that far.
“He wants to. He is hoping to still play in the playoffs. He wants to help the team, they struggled last conference but he knows they’re a much better team now,” she said.
“You know how James loves the playoffs. He wants to return and I hope he can play in the quarterfinals and hopefully help his team back to atleast the semis,” she said. “He’s gonna be ready for that. I am sure in their crucial games, he’ll likely to be there.”
“It’s so hard to speak on his behalf, but James wants to tell the fans to keep the faith on the team and that he appreciates the support, whatever happens,” added the Florence, Italy native.
“I think kaya nila 'yan … at least semis,” she said smiling.
Listen to interview with Michella Cazzola: