PBA: ‘Nervous’ James Yap feels like a rookie again in return

James Yap Rain or Shine PBA

James Yap. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — James Yap turned back the clock with a vintage performance during the Shine’s 105-87 loss to Meralco in the PBA Governors Cup opener on Sunday night rain or shine.

Yap scored 14 points on a slick jump shooting performance that delighted the crowd at the Phil Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Last played on September 30, 2021, the two-time Most Valuable Player admitted that he was stressed throughout the competition.

“I felt like a fraud. I felt the same way I did in 2004. I was nervous. I don’t know if I can still do it,” he said.

“I’m happy that the fans welcomed me. I’m very grateful to them, and of course to Coach Young (Giao) for giving me the opportunity to still play basketball,” he added.

A member of the league’s 40 Greatest Players, the 19-year-old pro dedicated his comeback to his constituents in San Juan City, where he now also serves as a councilor.

Yap’s stellar performance was palpable to everyone in the audience, including Guiao who feels the veteran’s performance was among the few silver linings.

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

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Yap said of his performance. “I was just trying to be ready for the moment when I was called into the game.”

Yap’s last game before Sunday night was during Rain or Shine’s quarterfinal match against Magnolia in the 2021 Philippine Cup held in Bacolor, Pampanga.

“I’m happy that I was still able to do well. The result may not have been good since we lost, but I’m sure we’re going to bounce back,” said the veteran Yap, who scored a Boasting an impressive resume that includes seven PBA crowns, including a rare triple crown sweep.

The Painters hope to get into the win column against TNT this Friday at the Yanares Center in Antipolo City.

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