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Yap inks 1-year Blackwater deal

JAMES Yap (middle) formally signs a one-year deal with Blackwater in the PBA. Joining him are Bossing team owner Dioceldo Sy (right) and team manager Johnson Martinez. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DIOCELDO SY

Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap is not yet ready to hang his jersey.

With fans on his mind, Yap formalized his stay in the Philippine Basketball Association by signing a one-year deal with Blackwater on Friday.

Yap, who still has what it takes to make an impact despite turning 42 on 15 February, signed the deal in the presence of Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy and team manager Johnson Martines.

“I still want to play at least 10 to 15 minutes,” Yap said.

“I still feel that I can play and entertain the fans. I want to reward their sacrifices, some of them were coming all the way to the province just to see me play.”

Yap said the short deal will be a way to gauge how far he could go in playing competitive basketball.

While he’s already at the twilight of his career, Yap, who used to be the face of the league after leading San Mig Coffee to a grand slam in 2014.

“As long as I can play, I will continue playing. This is something I love doing,” said Yap, who will have to do some balancing act as he leads Blackwater while serving in the city council of San Juan.

Sy told DAILY TRIBUNE that Yap will be utilized by the company both as their chief gunner and main endorser of their brands.

“He’ll do both,” Sy said.

On Thursday, Yap attended his first practice session with the Bossing and head coach Jeff Cariaso, who was part of Tim Cone’s coaching staff during the glory years of San Mig Coffee, said the veteran cager still has a lot of catching up to do.

“He’s two weeks behind, so we’ll try to slowly integrate him to our system,” Cariaso said.

“Him coming in here, we made clear on both our sides what both of our goals are. I really made it a point to ask his goals from this opportunity.”

“I also shared with him my expectations. But to have a guy like him is rare and even Coach Yeng (Guiao) said that James remains valuable. We also know and understand fully where he is in his career. It depends on how he’s being used and I feel like there should be opportunities for me here to see it on him not just on the court but off the court.”

At Blackwater, Yap will be carrying a new jersey number — No. 15 — since his iconic jersey No. 18 is being used by another star player of the team, Troy Rosario.

The No. 15 jersey was previously being used by another James
— James Sena — but the 6-foot-4 forward gave way for the more illustrious Yap, who will use that number as this was his birthdate.

“I was born February 15, so I’m using it,” Yap said. “James (Sena) will use number 31 since that’s also his birthdate.”

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