Rain or Shine head coach Chris Gavina said that there remains no timeline for when James Yap can rejoin the team for the new PBA wars.
“No timeline yet,” he told Tiebreaker Times on Wednesday.
The 39-year-old underwent a minor surgery on his knee last May, and has been undergoing strengthening and rehabilitation since.
The former two-time MVP has yet to participate in the Elasto Painters’ full-contact practices, although he has been taking part in drills.
“Strength and conditioning ramped up recently. We already incorporated him with our 5-on-0 program,” said Gavina.
The youthful mentor, though, said that Rain or Shine does not want to hasten things with Yap since they all want him to reach full health.
“I’ve spoken to him as well in respect that he should not feel that we are rushing him,” said Gavina, who took over the head coaching reins last March.
“We want him to be 100 percent before he can go to full contact in practice.”
Injuries have been hounding Yap in the past few years.
Having just recovered from a groin injury prior to the season restart last year, Yap strained his calf during the Philippine Cup bubble in Clark.
That then limited his playing time. By the end of their campaign, Yap posted a career-low average of 7.1 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Still, the 17-year vet remains a valuable asset to the Elasto Painters, serving as a guiding light to the team’s much younger pieces.
But while RoS awaits his full recovery, Gavina will make do with what he has as of the moment when they begin their journey on Sunday.
Trusted vets Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga will lead the charge. Moreover, Gavina is expecting the duo of Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon to take the lead on offense.
“With our vets Gabe and Beau setting the high standard, everyone is following our roles. Everyone knows that Nambatac and Mocon will carry the offensive load along with Beau,” he said.
There’s also the likes of Norbert Torres, Jewel Ponferrada, Bradwyn Guinto, and Mark Boboran to man the team’s frontline.
Completing the Rain or Shine roster are Adrian Wong, Anton Asistio, Santi Santillan, Vince Tolentino, Andrei Caracut, and Prince Rivero.
The former Kia mentor isn’t shy to admit that there’s pressure in steering the wheel of the storied franchise. Still, he embraces the challenge.
“Of course there is pressure,” he said. “It’s a new challenge.
“I always had the mindset on having the development and growth as a person. I enjoy learning from our players and sharing my insights in the game.
“Excitement and anxiety are there,” he added. “I just take it day by day and stay in the moment right now. Can’t wait to get back on the court.”