James Yap was sharing his frustration over his current back problem when I sat down with him for a few minutes before San Mig Coffee’s Friday afternoon practice at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
He looked normal and healthy when he walked into the air-conditoned gym. He brought in sliced fruits in a plastic container and a one-liter bottle of mineral water.
Yap exchanged pleasantries with some of his teammates and talked a little bit with San Mig’s physical therapist Arcee Cua, the man in charge of helping him recover from his back injury.
“Ang lakas ng isip ko eh, ‘kaya ko ito, kaya ko ito’. First time nangyari ito (back pain and offensive struggle) sa semis in nine years. Pag ganito kasing semis, dikdikan na ito pero di ko magawa eh. As in talagang once binitawan mo yung bola, kailangan may mangyari para makatulong ka sa team, ganun ako mag-isip kasi, ngayon di ko masyado magawa,” said a dejected Yap.
As his team faces a no-tomorrow Game 4 on Saturday versus the confident Alaska Aces, Yap is hopeful he could play and contribute again like he used to countless number of times for his team.
“Kami naman, importante, just play our game, enjoy the game. Huwag lang masyadong isipin or i-pressure yung sarili. Gawin langyung best, kung ano natutunan mo sa basketball, ilabas mo na. Kasi the more bigyan mo sarili mo ng pressure, mas makakasama yun,” said Yap, as he expects the rest of the Mixers to throw their best shot against the Aces, who are gunning for their first Finals trip since the 2010 Fiesta Conference.
Will Yap and the Mixers succeed in forging a Game 5?