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Sports

Proven winner James Yap seeks to bring Blackwater out of the cellars

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Now in a new team, James Yap is aiming to bring perennial cellar dweller Blackwater into the playoffs. 

The 42-year-old Yap, who has won seven PBA championships, started his Blackwater era with a win against the Meralco Bolts, 96-93, on Wednesday.

In the game, the guard had five points on two-of-five shooting, while playing almost 13 minutes. 

Now part of a young team after spending several seasons with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Yap stressed that he wants to make the playoffs with the Bossing. 

“The goal is, of course, to enter the next round. In the last conference, our standing was not that good. So, the goal is… I want to let the young players understand that we need to play as a team,” he told reporters after the game. 

“Even if we play well in the eliminations, that will be forgotten by the people. But if we enter the semis and the finals, people will start to take notice. If we want to make a name in the PBA and earn a reputation in the PBA, let us enter the semis and the finals,” he added.
 
One of the most accomplished players in PBA history, Yap will be bringing his veteran smarts to a young Blackwater team that finished 1-10 in the elimination round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. 

Last conference, Blackwater won its opening game and dropped all the remaining elimination round games. 

“We will be respected by other teams if we enter the finals and the semifinals. Blackwater, I think, has not entered the semis yet. We earn the respect of the other teams if we enter the semis and the finals. This is where we get the name,” Yap said. 

“That is what the people will remember, not the elimination.” 

The Bossing last crashed into the playoffs back in the 2022 Philippine Cup.
 
Now, with a rejigged roster led by new acquisitions Rey Nambatac and Yap, the team has a shot at making the quarterfinals once again. 

Meanwhile, Yap voiced excitement to finally get some playing time. 

Last conference, he barely played for the Elasto Painters, seeing the floor in just three contests. 

The former scoring champion said that he is not demanding long minutes. 

“Coach [Jeff Cariaso] assured me that he will use me in games. I am not demanding long minutes, 40 minutes. I just asked to just play,” he said.
 
“It is difficult to go to practice and you cannot show it in-game.” 

One of the most popular PBA players ever shared that before, fans are approaching him saying they traveled from the province just to watch him play, only to see him glued to the bench. 

“That is what’s in my mind and my goal every time I am playing, that this is for the fans. I want to give enjoyment to the fans. That’s the problem [before,] I am not playing, but everything is okay now.”

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JAMES YAP

PBA

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