James Yap is nearing his comeback in the hardcourt as he rejoins Rain or Shine scrimmage in Angeles, Pampanga in preparation for the 2021 Philippine Cup resumption of the PBA 46th Season.

/ 27 August 2021

After eight months of recovering from a procedure in the knee, the 6-foot-3 Yap has finally participated in a full 5-on-5 scrimmage with the  Elasto Painters, who had their first practice session last Tuesday at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga.

Rain or Shine coach Chris Gavina confirmed Yap has been joining in full-contact practice over the past two days in their scrimmages. 

“He’s participated in full-contact practice these past two days and his work of getting himself physically prepared to get reintegrated with his teammates has been relevant just from our past two practices,” Gavina said.

The two-time PBA MVP has missed six of the Elasto Painters’ games of the Philippine cup as he went through an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee sometime in March. 

Yap last played on November 13 in a loss to Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals of the Clark bubble last season, wherein he averaged 7.2 points in 11 games with Rain or Shine in 2020 throughout the season.

Yap already started doing individual workouts when the team started practice sessions in Batangas last June.

In July, when the league opened shop for its conference, Yap was cleared to join mostly in ‘controlled’ full-court training, nearing his return, but the league was halted early in August after Metro Manila was placed in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

This time around, there was no limit as Yap was able to play in full running and full-contact practice sessions.

Gavina is looking forward to Yap’s full recovery as he plans to utilize his talents coming off the bench for Rain or Shine, which holds a 4-2 record.

“We will slowly allow him to build his stamina and rhythm on the floor as we move along during the week to ensure we can utilize him once we restart games,” said Yap.

Games are set to return on Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.