PBA superstar James Yap of Rain or Shine said that his return to practice session would be gradual, something he already discussed with his coaches prior to his return to training next week.
A two-time Most Valuable Player, the 38-year-old Yap said that while he has done strengthening and conditioning exercises the past five months, going back to team practice is totally different.
Yap said that unlike when he was younger, his body reacts differently now that he is in his 17th season.
“Iba na din siempre ngayon, ingat na din sa injury,” Yap said in a phone interview Friday with Manila Bulletin. “Medyo unti-unti, dahan-dahan lang so yung body ko maka-adjust.”
“Nasa condition naman, of course, maski nasa Italy nagawa ko naman lahat ng puwedeng gawin to stay in shape. Pero iba siempre ang game shape –- running and shooting, ito na ang dapat gawin.”
Yap said he was in good form prior to the start of the 45th PBA season, which started March 8 as defending champion San Miguel Beer downed Magnolia Hotshots to open the Philippine Cup.
A few days later, however, league commissioner Willie Marcial announced the suspension of games and even practice sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic that forced the government to nationwide lockdown.
Late last month, the PBA was given the green light by the government to resume practice sessions.
The other day, the PBA board – chaired by Ricky Vargas of TNT KaTropa – announced their preference for a bubble facility in Clark starting Oct. 9, if the government’s approves the league’s resumption.
Yap left for Italy in June with fiancée Michela Cazzola, their four-year-old son Michael James and two-year-old daughter Francesca Michelle. He returned three weeks ago.
Yap had a swab test Friday – his second since arriving from Italy – at the Makati Medical Center as part of the health protocol before he could rejoin the Rain or Shine practice session at Reyes gym in Mandaluyong City.
He is in the first group of Elaso Painters players with teammates Norbert Torres, Jewel Ponferada and Sidney Onwubere under assistant coach Chris Gavina for the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule from 8 to 9 in the morning.