ROGER Yap was ready for retirement and a comfortable post-basketball life until disaster struck.
On August 3, right on the PBA veteran's birthday, Yap's ancestral home along with other houses in the family compound in Sambag Uno in Cebu City were reduced to ashes following a fire that struck the area.
“Wala, ubos ang pinag-ipunan ng lahi namin. Lahat ng kagamitan at alaala namin, naabo. Nakakalungkot. Birthday ko pa nung mangyari 'yun,” a grief-stricken Yap told Spin.ph on Friday.
“Walang nakuha sa bahay namin. Ultimo mga pictures namin 'nung mga bata pa kami, pati mga trophy at individual awards ko nung naglalaro pa ako dito sa Cebu, nasunog,” he added.
Aside from the family home and decades of memories, also destroyed by the fire was a row of apartments which Yap was able to build from his earnings in 14 seasons as a professional basketball player.
“Yung apartment ko na ilang taon kong pinundar, fifteen units 'yun, natupok rin. Para akong sinakluban ng langit at lupa, kasi 'yun ang ginagamit ko na pang-suporta sa pamilya ko at mga kapatid ko rito,” he rued.
Yap only arrived in Cebu on Thursday as he gathered donations from friends and fellow PBA players, which he will share to their neighbors who were also victims of the fire that gutted 55 houses along P. Del Rosario extension.
“Nakakailang kahon na ako ng naipong relief goods," he said. “May iba pang boxes na nasa Manila ang pinapa-ship ko na rito. Inuuna ko rin kasi mga kapitbahay namin. Nakakaawa sila, walang natira.
At least kami, kahit papano, natutulungan ko at ng mga kamag-anak namin.”
The misfortune has also prompted the former backcourt partner of Star gunner James Yap to abandon plans to retire, saying he needs a stable source of income now more than ever, especially with his mom regularly undergoing dialysis treatment.
Yap spent last season as a reserve player for Barako Bull. At 38, he now hopes to revive his PBA career, saying he needs the money so he can start over.
“Kahit siguro two years lang, gusto kong bumalik. Makapagsimula lang ulit kahit kaunti,” said the former University of San Jose-Recoletos star. “Plano kong bumalik, kailangan ko kasi ubos talaga kami."
“Mga dalawang taon pa siguro kaya ko pa. Hindi naman ako nabugbog, pahinga ako, practice lang ako.”
Asked if he intends to return to Star where he had played for nine years, Yap sounded hopeful, especially with the Hotshots reverting to their old, fast-paced offense under new coach Jason Webb.
They Said It!
“Guys, fellow Purefoods fans, hope we can relay this to Governor Pardo or team manager Cap. Alvin. Hope we can help Roger by having him into the lineup. I know he still have playing years left. Also, it's our way of helping our "family" member especially with his problem now." - Seth Jr Barrameda
“Siyempre kung ako masusunod, gusto ko ring makabalik sa Purefoods. Doon ako nakilala eh. Dun ko talaga gusto mag-retire eh,” he said.
But at this point, Yap's priority is to land a PBA job with any team. He hopes to seek an audience with San Miguel big boss Ramon S. Ang, in the hope of being given a chance to compete for places in SMC's teams.
“I hope makarating kay boss RSA," he said.