By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
James Yap is officially back in the PBA.
With seven minutes remaining in the second quarter of the Rain or Shine Elastopainters’ game against the Meralco Bolts, the former face of the league drew loud cheers from the fans and the opposing personnel after checking in the ball game last January 22, 2023, that ended his one-year absence from the PBA.
Yap was absent during Rain or Shine’s one full season campaign last 2022 after being elected as councilor of San Juan City.
After Yap assumed office last May, the basketball star now turned politician promised to fulfill his role to the Elastopainters and immediately put on a show in his first game back as a professional hooper.
The two-time PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) quickly let his presence felt after drawing a foul when he drove to the basket while burying his off-the-board flip shot at the 4:15 mark of the second period.
Yap wasn’t done with his highlight-filled basketball return after going insane in the next three minutes when he erupted for 12 points in just seven minutes of action.
The seven-time PBA champion helped Rain or Shine get back on track after Meralco stole their lead away in the second quarter.
Yap restored order for Rain or Shine after head coach Yeng Guiao decided to insert him in the lineup when their offense got cold and even buried a cold-blooded buzzer-beating trey to end the first half with a bang.
However, Yap only scored two more points after the last two quarters and ended the game with 14 markers built from 5/8 shooting from the field.
Despite the 105-87 loss, Yap’s majestic performance is still a positive sign for the Elastopainters moving forward in the import-laced conference.
Yap will look to continue his comeback tour when Rain or Shine will take on the TNT Tropang Giga on January 27, 2023, to be held at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.