Rain or Shine guard James Yap is slowly getting into the groove of things at Rain or Shine, where he found himself after a mega trade at the end of the last PBA conference.
When the trade was announced, where he was shipped to Rain or Shine in exchange for Paul Lee who went to the Hotshots, Yap was still recuperating from a right knee arthroscopic surgery he had last month.
But in the last few days, Yap had been well enough to join the scrimmage. Such was the case yesterday as Yap, 34, playing only in the second team of his 12-year PBA career, was shooting from the three-point area where he was made to take 20 attempts on a catch-and-shoot situation.
Apparently satisfied with his set, Yap turned to one of the team assistants and gave him a wink.
Shooting, it seems was no problem for the former two-time MVP known to many as “Big Game James.” But stamina was.
“Ang bilis ko pa mapagod, wala pang hangin,” said the 6-foot-0 Yap, as he assessed his first practice with the Elasto Painters.
According to Yap, he is now about at 60 percent with his form. The injury, he said, has healed well such that he is not worried about it anymore. His main concern now, he said, is to have his game condition back.
“Mahirap naman sumabak sa laro ng wala sa kundisyon, ang bilis ko pa hingalin,” said Yap.
But he is happy with his progress. “At least ngayon nakapag-ensayo na ako, medyo na-test ko na yung katawan ko. First time ko na lumaro talaga e, puro shooting lang ako before. Pero ngayon medyo nakaka-sabay na ako sa scrimmage,” he said.
Rain or Shine will have its season debut tomorrow when it tackles TNT KaTropa. His team has advised him not to play yet but he hopes to make his RoS debut against Mahindra on Nov. 30 in Antipolo City.
“I-try ko sa Mahindra game, tignan ko lang if kaya na,” said Yap.
RoS mentor Caloy Garcia liked what he saw about Yap when he reported for practice.
“Bukod sa conditioning, isa syempre sa concern is yung adjustment sa system,” Garcia said. “Pero maski na first time nya sa ensayo, nakukuha na nya yung mga plays namin on offense. Sa defense naman next time.”
Yap said he’s hoping to provide additional scoring firepower to a team that includes known shooters such as Jeff Chan, Jericho Cruz, Maverick Ahanmisi and new recruit Jay Washington, who was obtained from Globalport.