Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap and Rain or Shine will be the centers of attention when the Philippine Basketball Association kicks off its Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Philsports Arena.
Yap, who missed the last three conferences to focus on his duties as city councilor in San Juan, will take the first step in his comeback trail as the Elasto Painters battle dangerous Meralco in the first game while NorthPort and Converge collide in the main attraction of the opening salvo.
Meanwhile, Justin Chua confirmed to Daily Tribune that he was told by new NLEX team manager Larry Fonacier that he will be traded.
“No specifics, but I was informed by (team manager) Larry last night (Monday),” Chua said.
“This isn’t new for me.”
The journeyman center is expected to be traded to TNT along with Paul Varilla in a multiple-player deal, which also involved veteran forward Sean Anthony and Jake Pascual, who are likely headed to the Road Warriors. TNT’s Jjay Alejandro and Raul Soyud are expected to join Phoenix.
The trade awaits the PBA’s approval.
But Yap is not the only player making a return as the imports of both Rain or Shine and Meralco in Michael Qualls and KJ McDaniels are also set to make a comeback.
McDaniels is determined to bounce back strongly after failing to lead the Bolts past the elimination round of the Commissioner’s Cup while Qualls is trying to pick up where he left off, this time with the Elasto Painters.
In the 2019 Governors’ Cup, Qualls, then playing for NorthPort, led the Batang Pier in beating the then Yeng Guiao-mentored NLEX team twice in a row in the quarterfinal round to reach the semifinals.
Qualls and Guiao are now joining forces and they are hoping they can form a winning combination.
NorthPort and Converge are not just excited to see how their respective imports — Marcus Weathers of the Batang Pier and Ethan Rusbatch of the FiberXers — perform, but they’re also curious at how their newly-acquired players can make an impact.