JAMES Yap may be a disappointment during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, but San Mig Coffee management is standing by its main man no matter what.
Team governor Rene Pardo told Spin.ph the organization understands injuries had slowed down the two-time league MVP in the mid-season tournament, but there's no way San Mig will part with its franchise player.
“James is not tradeable,” said Pardo emphatically. “He’s not only the face of San Mig Coffee, he’s also the face of the league.”
“It would have been different siguro if we had a 100 percent James Yap (during the semis),” added Pardo, obviously referring to the early exit of the deposed champion after losing its best-of-five series to Alaska, 3-1.
““Pero just the same, we will not make any excuses. Malakas talaga na team ang Alaska.”
Pardo bared Yap is still undergoing rigid therapy to help him recover quickly from a nagging back problem that caused a huge drop in his point production in the playoffs and forced him to sit out Game Four of the semifinal series against Alaska.
During the semis, the 31-year-old pride of Negros, Escalante registered career’ playoff lows of 7.33 points, 4.33 rebounds, and .67 assists.
San Mig coach Tim Cone, however, considers the current injury woes of the team’s superstar as a temporary setback.
“He’s improving. The five weeks off we have will really help him a lot. I expect him to come back. He just had a tough conference, mentally and physically,” said Cone.
“We know he’ll get away from it all. Get off on his own for a little bit, get out of the public eye and I think that will refresh him,” added the one-time Grand Slam champion coach.
Asked if Yap is dispensable, Cone was adamant.
“No! No way we’ll trade him. We don't even think about it - ever!” Cone said. “James is a great guy and I love coaching him. There’s no reason for him to want to be traded or even for our organization.
"We expect him to bounce back next conference,” he added.