Unless the border of Qatar closes again due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rain or Shine superstar James Yap is flying back home on September 2.
“Sure na… sana lang wala na talaga maging problema,” Yap said when contacted Sunday by Manila Bulletin.
Yap’s previous flight plans back to the Philippines from Italy were called off twice after Qatar decided to close its border due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the second on August 22, which coincided with Metro Manila’s return to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
Yap and partner Michela Cazzola left for Italy with their kids Michael James and Francesca Michelle in early June because of “family reasons” – but he assured Rain or Shine management of his return should PBA teams resume practice sessions.
They are staying at the Cazzola residence in the province of Ravenna – about three hours away from Rome.
PBA players had their swab tests the past several days in preparation for the resumption of training, possibly August 25 said league commissioner Willie Marcial last week.
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Yap, a two-time PBA Most Valuable Player, said coming home will be difficult without his family since his fiancee and their children will be staying behind likely until the holiday season.
“Mahirap siyempre, ma-miss ko sila… si ‘Bugoy’ ko ayaw ako paalisin sinasabi sa akin “don’t go” kaya ngayon pa lang kinu-kundisyon ko na yung isip niya na need ko mag-work,” said Yap, referring to his four-year-old son with a term of endearment.
“Pero alam naman na even before kami pumunta dito, babalik ako ng Pilipinas kapag mag-resume na ang PBA. Trabaho natin yan, talagang kailangan na bumalik na ako,” added Yap.
A member of the 40 Greatest Players in the PBA, the 6-foot-2 Yap said the plan is for him to return first to the country before the rest of his family joins him here in the next couple of months.
However, he isn’t discounting the possibility of returning to Italy for Christmas.
“Hindi pa namin talaga alam, basta ang plano is susunod sila umuwi, pero baka bumalik din ako dito… sa ngayon wala pang final. Tignan namin kung ano sitwasyon sa atin,” said Yap, pointing to the rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, which is nearing the 200,000 mark.
Yap said he already reached out to Rain or Shine team owners Terry Que and Raymund Yu about his scheduled flight.
He also relayed his return to ROS governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon and Jireh Ibanes – a former ROS player who is now the deputy team representative.
Yap expects to undergo self-quarantine upon his arrival.
“Of course sunod tayo sa government procedure pag nakabalik na ako… swab test tapos quarantine. Mahirap na din na derecho bahay kasi andun din yung parents ko sa amin,” he said.
“Ang importante now is makabalik, maka-join sa ensayo kapag natuloy na tayo. Excited din naman ako na makalaro, wala din naman ako ginawa kundi pakundisyon kaya ready naman ako,” he added.
Yap is in the second year of a three-year deal with the Elasto Painters, which could be his last as he intends to focus on his business ventures and possibly public service.