Marc Pingris on first Star game without James Yap: 'Mahirap na okay lang naman'
Marc Pingris says he's looking forward to meeting former Star teammate James Yap in the December 18 game against Rain or Shine. Jaime Campos

IT’S a new beginning for Star and its better for the team if it could quickly move on from the fact that former superstar James Yap is no longer part of the Hotshots.

Not playing with Yap for the first time in a long while felt a bit surreal for Marc Pingris, but the Star veteran said that’s the way life goes on in the PBA.

“Kumbaga move on,” said the veteran forward. "Wala e, nag-break (na kayo).”

Despite belonging to different teams now, Ping said he maintained his friendship with Yap as the two still constantly go out together.

[See Impressed Cone says rookie Jalalon 'could turn out to be special']

Yap, who was traded by Star to Rain or Shine after serving as the face of the franchise for the past 12 years, even stayed a while following the opening ceremony of the league's 42nd season that preceded the game between the Hotshots and the San Miguel Beermen to watch his former team in action.

Told that ‘Big Game James’ sat near the Hotshots bench early in the game, Pingris said he’s not aware about it.

“Hindi ko napansin,” said the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, who had seven points and three rebounds in the team’s 96-88 loss to the Beermen.

Pingris noted the presence of Paul Lee, who the team acquired in the trade with Yap to Rain or Shine, and the other new players somewhat eased the huge void left by their former leader.

“Mahirap na okay lang naman, Mahirap kasi nami-miss namin siya, and okay lang naman dahil andiyan naman sila Paul at yung mga rookies (namin),” he said.

[See Lee hard on himself after error-plagued Star debut]

Pingris didn’t hold back when he said he’s looking forward to his first meeting with Yap as an opponent.

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“Alam ko na ang laro ni James. Kilalang-kilala ko na ang laro ni James,” he said. “Sana magka-bantayan kami.”

Star and Rain or Shine meet for the first time this season on December 18. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos