James Yap to file COC for San Juan councilor on Oct. 5

Published October 3, 2021, 3:26 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Add the name of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star James Yap to the growing list of athletes joining in next year’s national and local elections.

Yap, a two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the PBA and one of the league’s 40 Greatest Players, is set to file his certificate of candidacy for councilor of District 1 of San Juan City this Tuesday, Oct. 5 under the ticket of incumbent San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora.

“Tuluy na tuloy na ako (It’s a go for me),” said the 39-year-old Yap when contacted Sunday, Oct. 3 by Manila Bulletin.

“Gusto natin na maka-tulong din, alam naman natin na may maitutulong tayo, at kaya nating tumulong.” (We want to help, we know that we can help and we have the ability to help.) “Siempre sa sports natin nakikita na pwede makatulong, sa kabataan, pero madaming bagay ang pwede tayo na makatulong lalo ngayon sa panahon ng COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

(Of course, I see myself helping in the sports program, the youth sector, but there are other aspects where we can help, especially now that we are still in this situation of COVID-19 pandemic.) Yap said that despite his decision to run for public office, he said that he was not planning to retire from basketball although his contract with his mother team Rain or Shine will only be until Dec. 31 of this year.

He said that it will be a great opportunity for him if he could continue playing and, at the same time, serve the people of San Juan.

“I think wala sa PBA ang nasa public service, yung bang active player. Kung mapagbigyan tayo at manalo, makakapagbigay inspirasyon pa din ako as a player and at the same time makakapag-serbisyo tayo as elected official,” said Yap.

(I think no active player in the PBA is in public service. If given a chance – if I win – we could still inspire others as a player and at the same time we could serve others as elected officials.) Yap said his decision was being supported by his family, particularly his partner Michela Cazzola.

Yap disclosed that he is set to fly back to Milano, Marittima in Italy on Oct. 8, and spend a few weeks with Cazzola and their two children, Francesca Michelle and Michael James.

In the 2019 general elections, Yap had considered as among the possible personalities eyeing a position under the Zamora ticket. Zamora won as mayor of San Juan and is seeking re-election.

Yap has been a resident of San Juan for several years now. He and Zamora, as well as former teammate Marc Pingris, Paul Artadi (now aiming another term as councilor in San Juan), actors Daniel Padilla and Vice Ganda, and businessman Charlton Yu, have put up a bar and restaurant called “District 8” in Green Hills San Juan.

Yap is also related to Mayor Melecio “Biboy” Yap Jr. of Escalante City, his hometown in Negros Occidental.