Philippine basketball

‘Big Game’ finale? 41-year-old James Yap signs with retooling Blackwater

JR Isaga

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‘Big Game’ finale? 41-year-old James Yap signs with retooling Blackwater

BIG GAME. James Yap in action for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

PBA Images

Two-time PBA MVP James Yap begins writing the last few chapters of his illustrious career, taking on a mentorship role with the young Blackwater Bossing

MANILA, Philippines – “Big Game” James Yap has likely picked the last stop in his illustrious basketball career.

The former two-time PBA MVP, now 41 years old, has signed with the retooling Blackwater Bossing after eight years with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy announced on Thursday, February 8.

Although already on his last legs, Yap is still expected to provide a decent boost to a Bossing side that is still mostly stuck in the PBA cellar 10 years into its inception.

In an Instagram post, Yap also bid “farewell” to his jersey No. 18, the number he sported since he started “playing serious basketball.”

“As I move into a new team, a number will be given to me. Sana suportahan niyo pa rin ako, wala naman magbabago… iiwanan ko lang ang number 18, pero hindi ang basketball,” Yap wrote, revealing he’ll be wearing No. 15.

(I hope you’ll still support me, nothing will change… I’’m just leaving No. 18 but not basketball.)

The seven-time champion and 17-time All-Star will slide right into the rotation spot vacated by gunner Baser Amer, and will guide a potent young back court led by Rey Suerte, RK Ilagan, and James Kwekuteye.

Overall, the Bossing will also lean on the likes of Troy Rosario, Ato Ular, and 2023 No. 2 rookie pick Christian David to improve their fortunes moving forward.

With Blackwater, Yap will have plenty of opportunities to flex his ageless scoring skill set, and will also provide the hard-luck franchise a hugely marketable identity amid a bid to attract new Bossing fans.

During his prime, “Big Game James” had a stellar 12-year stint with the Purefoods franchise where he won seven PBA championships, including a rare Grand Slam in the 2013-2014 season. He got dealt to Rain or Shine in exchange for Paul Lee in 2016.

In his last conference with Rain or Shine, the incumbent San Juan City councilor only appeared in three games and started one, averaging 5.0 points on 41% shooting in just 9.3 minutes. –

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