James Yap was almost a Green Archer in the UAAP
Paul Kennedy Lintag on May 19, 2020 11:25 AM
"Actually, mag-La Salle na sana ako. Kaso lang medyo nagka-gulo, ewan ko anong nangyari. Hindi kami nagka-tuluyan sa La Salle." — James Yap on an incredible "what if" UAAP story.
Before his incredible PBA career, James Yap starred in the UAAP.
While he never won a UAAP title, Yap was the star of the UE Red Warriors that went to multiple Final Fours and he won league MVP during his final season.
However, in an alternate reality, James was never a Red Warrior. Instead, Yap would have been a Green Archer for De La Salle University.
"Actually, mag-La Salle na sana ako. Kaso lang medyo nagkagulo, ewan ko anong nangyari. Hindi kami nagka-tuluyan sa La Salle," Yap recalled.
James told the story on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan.
"Ewan ko anong nangyari, syempre ako galing probinsya di ba. Nage-ensayo na ako sa La Salle nung high school ako eh. Walang pasok yun. Pag wala rin ako pasok, pumupunta ako ng Manila. Nung malapit na pasukan, graduate na ako ng high school, pumunta ako sa La Salle na-culture shock ako. Hindi ko na inalam ano nangyari, napunta ako UE," Yap added.
UE was one of the UAAP schools that tried to recruit Yap and the link between the two parties was established early via the old PBL.
"Nung high school ako, nag-laro ako sa Jrs. PBL. Na-meet ko si boss Bong Tan nun," Yap said.
"Timing din nung pag-graduate ko ng high school, nabili ni boss Bong yung UE. So para di ako mahirapan mag-adjust, nag-decide ako ng mag-UE ako, Kakilala ko na yung may-ari ganyan," he added.
UE also played a key role in Yap making the jump to the PBA as a white-hot prospect.
James was the 2003 UAAP MVP after once again having the Red Warriors in the Final Four. In the same year, Yap won a gold medal for Team Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games.
By 2004, Yap was in the PBA as the no. 2 pick for Purefoods. He chose not to play his final year of eligibility for UE.
"Nung nanalo ako ng MVP, sobrang bait ng UE, sila pa nag-advise sakin. Kumbaga MVP kana, mabango yung pangalan mo, bakit hindi mo i-grab yung opportunity na umakyat ka ng PBA? Sayang yung pangalan mo sobrang hot ngayon," Yap said of his decision then.
"Ang dami na kasing ga-graduate nung fourth year ako nung nanalo ako MVP. Halos kalahati mawawala. Kaya nag-decide kami na akyat na ako. Nagpapa-salamat talaga ako sa UE, talaga sila nag-advice sakin," he added.
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