James Yap back for Team Philippines 9 years after his first tour of duty
Paul Lintag on Aug 07, 2018 07:29 AM
"It's an honor ulit na maka-represent sa bansa natin," --- James Yap.
James Yap has been a national team player before.
However, that was in 2009.
Almost a decade later, Yap is back for Team Philippines with the former two-time PBA MVP joining a reinforced Rain or Shine crew to form the Gilas Pilipinas that will compete in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
With such an extended time difference between his national team stints, Yap feels like a rookie all over again with Gilas.
"It's an honor ulit na maka-represent sa bansa natin," Yap said Monday as the national team wrapped up its first practice ahead of the Asiad.
"Matagal na, kaya parang feeling ko rookie ulit. Excited ako," he added.
One of the most decorated players the Philippines has ever seen, Yap is set to play in his first Asian Games. Yap was still in college when the Philippines placed fourth in the 2002 Asiad.
The country was suspended in 2006 and the 2010 Asian Games was one of the earlier tournaments the original Gilas program competed in. In 2014, Gilas 2.0, fresh from the World Cup, settled for 7th place.
That alone makes this stint all the more worth it for Yap and he plans to make it count.
"First time ko mag-Asian Games. Sobrang blessed, salamat sa tiwala. Salamat kay coach Yeng, sa Rain or Shine, tsaka sa SBP, na talagang nabigyan ako ng chance ulit," Yap said.
"Syempre kailangan willing ka mag-sacrifice. Dapat lahat ng nalaman mo sa basketball simula nung bata ka ilabas mo na dito dahil hindi rin basta-basta ang mga kalaban. Walang relax dito, pukpok lagi. Kailangan 110 percent sa laro every game," he added.
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