MANILA, Philippines – Just like any other game.
James Yap insisted he had no extra motivation against former team Magnolia when he converted the game-winning three-point play in Rain or Shine's 75-74 triumph in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, February 13.
"Actually, hindi ko na iniisip 'yun kasi pag iisipin mo 'yun, nandoon 'yung gigil, nandoon lahat eh na gusto mong magpakita," the two-time Most Valuable Player, who finished with a game-high 18 points, told reporters.
(Actually, I wasn't thinking of winning against my former team because when you look at it that way, you will become overeager to show what you've got.)
With the Elasto Painters trailing 72-74, "Big Game James" turned back the hands of time by pump faking two defenders and knocking down a one-handed floater and fetching a foul from Rome dela Rosa with 2.5 ticks left.
Knotting the score at 74-all, Yap then calmly sank the go-ahead free throw as Rain or Shine tightened its grip on the top spot with its seventh win in 8 outings.
Once the face of the Purefoods franchise, Yap admitted to have always wanted to be in his best form against his former team since he was traded to Rain or Shine in 2016.
But in time, that feeling has subsided.
"[A]aminin ko noong mga bago pa lang na trade. Pero ngayon, mag-tu-two years na so kailangan ko rin mag-relax kasi laging gigil 'pag sila kalaban so ngayon, relax lang," he said.
(I admit that I was always overeager back then. But now, it will be two years since I was traded so I need to relax.)
For the 36-year-old, it's always euphoric to bail out Rain or Shine just like he used to during his time with Purefoods.
"Masarap talaga 'yung feeling na ginagawa mo dati sa team mo, sa kalaban mo, tapos ngayon nagawa mo sa bago mong team."
(It always feels good that what I did for my old team, I'm still able to do it for my new team.)
Yap and Rain or Shine head into a three-week break before they tangle with TNT on March 3 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. – Rappler.com
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.