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James Yap: ‘See you next conference’

James Yap isn’t retiring just yet.

The two-time PBA MVP is keen on returning next season as he felt fit for another rodeo following the conclusion of his first conference back, but added that it depends if the Rain or Shine management would still want his services.

“See you next conference,” the 41-year-old quipped moments after the Elasto Painters’ 129-116 defeat to San Miguel Beer in their final game of the season, Friday at the Philsports Arena.

“Pero tingnan natin … management na bahala.”

Yap signed a one-conference deal prior to the 2023 Governors’ Cup last January 6, marking his return to basketball after a year-long absence as he focused on his bid for a council seat in San Juan, which he won.

He was actually offered a one-year deal by the ball club, but the seven-time PBA champion chose a shorter deal so as to gauge if he can balance fulfilling public service duties while resuming his career at the same time

Yap felt pleased with how he pulled off the juggling act and said that he’s feeling much better health-wise as compared to his previous run — the 2021 Philippine Cup bubble, to be exact, where he only played for seven games.

“So far ito ‘yung conference na hindi ako naka-miss ng game, naka-suit up ako lagi, which is a good sign,” said the 19-year veteran, who’s been with RoS since 2016. “Kasi ‘yung bubble, nakakamiss ako ng games nun.

“Understandable dahil kumbaga, matagal din na na-break dahil sa pandemic, so nung pagbalik, medyo lumabas ‘yung mga sakit. Sa ngayon okay naman, masasabi ko na healthy naman ako this conference.”

So Yap only hopes to sustain as much moving forward, in line with his plans to come back next season that starts mid-October.

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“Sana tuloy-tuloy,” he said. “‘Yun ang iniisip ko e, nakakahiya naman sa management pagbalik mo, hindi ka naka-suit up — nandyan ka sa game, pero hindi ka naka-uniform, naka-civilian ka. Sa ngayon, OK naman.”

But then again, it’s all up to the management, who will surely be in for a busy offseason ahead as the break will last for about six months.

“Marami pang paguusapan,” he said. “Pinaka-importante ‘tong seven months kung paano. I’m sure maguusap kami. Tingnan natin.”

While he awaits for discussions to take place, Yap’s primary focus, for now, is serving the first district of San Juan.

“May two-week break kami. Focus muna ako sa pagiging konsehal sa San Juan. Nagagampanan naman natin ‘yung trabaho natin as konsehal habang naglalaro, ngayon wala muna akong iisipin na practice,” he said.

“Sa San Juan ako naka-focus ngayon.”

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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