If James Yap returns to the Rain or Shine roster this season, new coach Chris Gavina already has an idea on what role he wants the two-time MVP to play for the Elasto Painters.
“The role of James is we’ll treat him na parang Jordan Clarkson,” said Gavina as he appeared on the weekly sports show The Chasedown last Saturday, July 17 on One PH channel of Cignal TV.
Gavina likes the part that the Fil-Am Clarkson is coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz and provides instant offense with a license to shoot from coach Quin Snyder.
Clarkson’s contributions to the Jazz earned him this season’s Sixth Man of the Year award in the NBA.
Gavina, who was elevated as RoS head coach prior to the season after a year serving with the coaching staff of coach Caloy Garcia–now the head of basketball operations–said Yap is perfect for that role.
“Pag pasok niya talagang green light, all the freedom in the world. It’s kind of like using him the way coach Tim Cone (during their time with Magnolia) used him. I get him to his favorite positions and let James do his ‘James’ thing,” said Gavina.
Yap, according to Gavina, is likely to join the team in the ongoing Philippine Cup in two to three weeks.
Gavina said that Yap, who is on his final three-year contract with the franchise, continues to work on getting his conditioning, and has yet to play in scrimmage after a recent arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.
“Talagang concentrated na siya sa conditioning. Nag-start na siya sa offensive review. No contact pa din (during practice sessions), we’re slowly building him up. I told him na huwag siya mag-madali,” Gavina said.
“We want to make sure that he is mentally and physically ready. Wala pang timetable, but maybe 2 to 3 weeks.”
In the previous ‘bubble’ tournament of the league, the 6-foot-3 Yap played in the entire Painters’ 10 games during the Philippine Cup as he averaged 7.10 points and 2.10 rebounds.