A pre-game talk with Alex Mallari during the PBA Philippine Cup encounter between Rain or Shine and Mahindra, somehow helped James Yap settle down while playing against his former teammate.
Although it was still a little bit strange, Yap was able to overcome the feeling and turned in a decent game in his debut for the Elasto Painters.
The two-time MVP finished with 10 points including two three-pointers that made him the newest member of the league’s 1,000-three-point club.
Yap later said he approached Mallari before the game and had a brief chat with the only other player dealt by Star during the offseason aside from the 34-year-old shooting guard.
“Nag-usap kami ni Alex and sinabi ko sa kanya na no choice naman kami kasi hindi naming hawak yung ganung mga bagay,” he recalled of his conversation with the Mahindra big guard at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Ok naman siya, naiintindihan naman daw niya ang buhay basketball.”
Yap was traded by the Hotshots to Rain or Shine for Paul Lee, while Mallari became part of the deal that brought stretch four Aldrech Ramos to Star.
Mallari finished with 10 points in a another double-digit scoring effort for the winless Floodbuster.
Yap comforted his former teammate by telling him to put everything behind and just focus on helping win games for Mahindra.
“Sabi ko kailangan mag move on and focus ka sa bagong team (mo),” said the 13-year veteran.