Throughout his entire career, Star Hotshots wing man James Yap is known for is plethora of moves and an ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor, although the two-time league MVP said he has been practicing dunking regularly.
Yap’s first two points in the league were actually a result of a slam dunk back in 2004 when the wing man was fresh out of the UE Red Warriors.
Yap never had an opportunity to follow it up after 11 years, until a breakaway in the third quarter of an already lopsided affair against Globalport, Friday, gave him the chance to soar and slam one home.
The Hotshots star quickly recalled the first time he shook the rim, and is relieved to still be able to do the move even after a decade of playing in the league.
“First two points ko sa PBA dunk. Ang tagal nasundan ano. Lagi ko pinapractice. Nagkataon lang,” Yap said, adding it was with a little help of his conditioning training.
“Syempre nagpapasalamat ako sa plyo, kay coach Jon Aquino. Dati pa nasa isip ko na kapag may chance ida-dunk ko, bahala na. At least natupad,” he said with a laughter.
Asked about the 126-73 destruction of the Batang Pier, Yap said the Hotshots had no choice but to play their hearts out pitted in a do-or-die duel.
“Do-or-die sa amin e so right from the start kailangan talaga magbigay ka ng statement. Ready kami. Hindi namin iniisip (na defending champion kami) pero ang importante is lahat kami nagtutulungan. Maganda ang teamwork at lahat kami alert sa defense,” he said.
Yap finished with 15 points including two triples, playing in only 19 minutes in the league’s most lopsided playoff game and armed with a mission to live for another day.
“Bawal magrelax e. Yun lang talaga ang mindset namin.”
*Photo from PBA Images