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    ROS coach on James Yap's form pre-COVID: 'Parang batang-bata ang dating'

    Aug 5, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    RAIN or Shine coach Caloy Garcia was expecting big things from James Yap for the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup until the global COVID-19 pandemic shelved the games.

    Garcia said Yap had an impressive preseason for the Elastopainters, so much so that it was like seeing the Yap of old heading into the 2020 season.

    “I think he was in tip-top shape,” Garcia told 2OT. “The last time we played, na-injured siya. But now, going back to the first conference, he was really in shape and in tune-up games, he was scoring.”

    The 38-year-old Yap had an injury-riddled 2019 season in which he battled a recurring groin injury that also affected the campaign of Rain or Shine in the Governors’ Cup where they missed the playoffs.

    But it was a different Yap during the offseason, Garcia noticed.

    “Parang batang-bata ang dating. Sayang,” Garcia added.

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    Aside from being healthy, Garcia felt Yap was motivated following the entry of young faces in the Elastopainters lineup in rookies Adrian Wong, Vince Tolentino, Prince Rivero, and Clint Doliguez.

    Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon have also become major players for Rain or Shine during their rookie year in 2019, with Garcia expecting the two to have a crucial role in this year’s campaign.

    Yap did admit during a January 2020 interview that he was challenged with the young core of the Elastopainters.

    “When James goes to practice, trabaho talaga. Ang feeling ko, James is challenging the rookies. Kapag scrimmage kami, ‘yung mga rookies namin nagugulat na ganun kagaling si James,” Garcia said of the two-time PBA MVP.

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      And Yap never fails to prove to the young guns that he still got game.

      “If you see his hands, laki kasi ng kamay niya, doon ako nagugulat. When he do scrimmages and he catches the ball one hand tapos sinasawsaw niya na isang kamay lang, pati rookies namin, hindi alam kung paano babantayan,” said Garcia.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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