Watching newly-acquired James Yap in practice convinced Rain or Shine sharpshooter that the two-time league MVP still has what it takes to regain a second wind in his PBA career.
While injuries have slowed down the pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental the past three years, Chan felt his former UAAP rival is still capable of taking over the game when needed.
“Si James, may konting iniinda lang naman sa tuhod, and siyempre last conference, may mga injuries siya pero hopefully, maging free na siya sa injuries at maipakita niya sa lahat na two-time MVP siya,” Chan told FOX Sports.
The 34-year-old Yap missed the final half of the elimination round for the Star during the just-concluded PBA Governors’ Cup last season due to a bruised pelvic bone.
The Hotshots failed to make the playoffs from there as they could only finish the season with an 11-win total, the worst in the franchise had with Yap in its fold.
Nicknamed “Big Game James” for his ability to score big baskets in timely fashion during his 12-year career with Star, Yap struggled last season after averaging career-low numbers of just 11.62 points, 2.93 rebounds and 1.28 assists in 26 minutes.
Last month, the Hotshots shocked the local basketball world when they decided to trade Yap, the long-time face of the franchise to Rain or Shine for former PBA Rookie of the Year and reigning Comeback Player Paul Lee.
The left-handed Chan noted that once healthy, Yap will surely be a thorn on the opposing team’s side because of his many moves in and around the basket.
“Marami pa rin siyang pahihirapan sa opensa niya,” said the sniper from Bacolod. “I’m sure malayo and marinating namin. Saka ngayon, maganda din ang tinatakbo ng team namin (in practice).”
Other than Yap, Rain or Shine added veteran big man Jania Washington to GlobalPort in exchange for bulky JR Quinahan.
The Elasto Painters also added freshman guard Mike Tolomia, the team’s rookie acquisition from the special draft. – Richard Dy
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Photo taken from the Instagram account of James Yap