Healthy enough to still play, James Yap awaits Rain or Shine decision on his future

Rain or Shine veteran James Yap. -PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Whether he re-signs with Rain or Shine, moves on to another club, or finally calls it a career is the farthest thing from James Yap’s mind.

At least for now.

“We’re going to have two weeks break, so I’m just going to focus on [fulfilling my duties] as a councilor in San Juan,” he told reporters on Friday night, shortly after Rain or Shine lost to San Miguel Beer, 129-116, in its final game in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

“For now, I won’t be thinking of anything (basketball), or practices. My focus will be on San Juan for the next two weeks,” the two-time league Most Valuable Player added as he made his way out of Philsports Arena.

After pursuing a political career, Yap refreshed his stint with the Painters by inking a one-conference deal. He played his first game back last Jan. 22, scoring 14 points in a losing stand against Meralco also at the Pasig City venue.

The 7-time PBA champion played a total of 10 games for the Painters and even started in three of them. He averaged 5.2 points and 1.7 rebounds playing in roughly nine minutes per contest in the season-ending tournament.

For Yap, those numbers are decent. And should make a case for him to the Rain or Shine management.

“It seems I could still play,” Yap said. “That’s been my main concern—health. So far I’ve never missed a game that I was able to suit up all the time. Which is a good sign because if you recall, during the bubble (tournaments) I was missing a lot.”

“Now I’m OK. I can say that I’m truly healthy. And I just hope it continues,” he added. “I’m in better condition than when I was in the bubble (conferences). I feel lighter.”

Yap knows that his future with the club is now in the hands of its head honchos—Raymond Yu and Terry Que. But he was optimistic throughout the chat, even telling scribes “see you next conference” in jest.

But a lot could happen between Rain or Shine’s return to training and the next PBA season. That stretch will span seven months, because of the PBA’s support for the Gilipinas Pilipinas and the country’s hosting of the Basketball World Cup.

“That’s long. Although we’ll have pocket tournaments, the seven months will be important for us and the management. I’m sure we’re going to talk (things through),” Yap said.

In a separate interview, coach Yeng Guiao said that he doesn’t want to get in the way of Yap and Rain or Shine’s bosses.

He did, however, assure that The Man with a Million Moves will have a home at Rain or Shine.

“I do not want to involve myself with their talks. But we’ll always have a slot for James,” the seasoned mentor said.

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