PUREFOODS Star’s top gun James Yap has rejoined the team’s practice on Monday as he bids to get back in game shape in time for the Hotshots’ first-ever showdown this season with Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
The two-time league MVP missed the team’s last two games owing to a right hamstring injury he sustained in practice over a week ago, but has now been given the green light by doctors to resume playing.
“Nag-start na ako ng practice kanina, okay naman, alalay lang ng konti,” Yap relayed to Spin.ph shortly after the Hotshots resumed practice since taking a two days off over the weekend.
Yap, though, still has to continue working with Purefoods Star’s physiotherapists Nick Ocampo and Arcee Cua to ensure a trouble-free return against the Gin Kings.
Ocampo said the Purefoods guard out of University of the East has been doing active stretching while they continue to apply the medical modalities on Yap like hot packs and ultrasound.
“Gradual lang muna siya (Yap’s return to practice). He joined the team’s half-court drills, pero sa bandang huli, di na siya sinama ni coach Tim (Cone) para di mabigla,” said Ocampo.
Since Purefoods Star still has five days to prepare, Ocampo said they intend to build on Yap’s conditioning, too, since they are anticipating a tough match against Ginebra.
“We’ll just continue working on it (Yap’s hamstring). May konting tightness lang naman daw kapag nasa dulo na siya ng pag-stretch pero malayo pa naman ang game so we can work on his conditioning,” he added.
Purefoods Star registered its first win of the season last Friday after outlasting GlobalPort, 81-75 behind ace playmaker Mark Barroca’s season-high 25 points.
The Hotshots, then known as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, beat the Kings in seven games during last season’s Philippine Cup semifinals, witnessed by a then-record 24,883 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
That record has since been eclipsed during the PBA season’s opening last October 19 where the league attracted 52,612 fans at the newly built Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.