PBA Governors' Cup

James Yap admits rookie jitters in PBA return for Rain or Shine

Delfin Dioquino
James Yap admits rookie jitters in PBA return for Rain or Shine

COMEBACK. James Yap plays again for Rain or Shine after missing the last three PBA conferences.

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James Yap proves he can still punish opposing PBA teams with his scoring prowess as he suits up for Rain or Shine for the first time in over a year

MANILA, Philippines – It felt like a trip down memory lane for James Yap.

Yap said he reminisced about his rookie year in the PBA as he returned to action after a yearlong sabbatical, scoring 14 points for Rain or Shine in a 105-87 loss to Meralco in the Governors’ Cup opener on Sunday, January 22.

The 2004 second overall pick took a leave of absence to run for councilor of San Juan City, eventually securing a post in the 1st District.

“I felt like I was a rookie,” said Yap in Filipino. “It was the same feeling I experienced in 2004, I was nervous and I didn’t know if I could do it.”

Yap last played in September 2021 as he sat out the last three PBA conferences – a period that saw the Elasto Painters fail to reach the playoffs twice.

But Yap hardly looked like he missed a beat despite his hiatus, erupting for 12 points in a seven-minute stretch in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer that knotted the score at 54-54 going into the break.

“I didn’t expect that,” said the two-time league MVP of his scoring display. “What matters to me is once I enter the court, I’m ready.”

Although the Bolts pulled away in the third quarter en route to the 18-point rout, Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao said Yap provided a bright spot in the blowout loss.

“I guess if there was a positive side to this loss, it was maybe James’ game. He was able to come back, and at least for those six or seven minutes, he was able to hit his stride,” said Guiao.

“That is a good sign for us. That means we can have another guy coming off the bench who can score and be a threat.”

Now one of the oldest players in the PBA at 40 years old, Yap said he is pleased with his performance.

“I’m happy that I was able to perform well. The result just didn’t favor us, but I’m sure we will bounce back,” said Yap. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.