JAKARTA – It took nine years before James Yap got another chance of playing for the national team, this time, in the Asian Games and the two-time MVP made sure he’ll come out better and wiser in his return stint.
“Para akong lumilipad eh. Ang sarap ng feeling,” Yap told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive online interview.
Yap finished with 12 points and made a huge contribution in the Rain or Shine-backed Philippine team’s one-sided win over Kazakhstan. He had several shining moments, including one breath-taking play that saw him gliding in mid-air and taking off with his patented one handed shot to defy the Kazakh defenders.
Already at the twilight of his career, Yap was able to bring in probably one of his better games in an international competition and head coach Yeng Guiao was able to take notice of his more improved, more matured game.
“Parang bata nga gumalaw si James kanina eh,” added Guiao. “But I told him and Asi (Taulava), na hindi ko alam kung magna-national team pa kayo ulit, so make sure you give your best. Make sure it will make a positive mark in your career. It’s very possible that you’ll be defined in the Asian Games with respect to your career by playing in the national team. Ang huling mari-remember ng tao yung huling stint mo eh. I’m sure they know the importance of their career in this Asian Games.”
Yap along with Asi Taulava and Gabe Norwood were the only remnants of the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship coached by Guiao.
The pride of Escalante, Negros made sure he’ll be able to bring his A-game now that he’s recalled to serve the national team.
“Mas controlled na ako ngayon. Kasi dati para akong kiti-kiti maglaro sa national team. Mas matured na ako, mas experienced kaya mas maganda na yung nilalaro ko sa international game,” added Yap.