James Yap with fiancée Michela Cazzola, their son Michael James and daughter Francesca Michelle. (Photo from James Yap’s Instagram account

The reunion of PBA superstar James Yap of Rain or Shine with his family in Italy will have to wait a little longer.

After all, it’s for good reasons.

The two-time Most Valuable Player Yap and the Elasto Painters are in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Philippine Cup, and that means he will continue to stay inside the bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

“Masaya siyempre na nasa quarterfinal ang team, bago pa naman mag-resume ang PBA ang goal naman talaga is to make the playoffs. Now nandito na kami, laban lang kami,” Yap told Manila Bulletin on Thursday.

“Kaya ganun na nga, konting sakripisyo dito sa PBA bubble and konting tiis lang muna. Of course I can’t wait na makita sila uli, pero tiis lang muna. Focus lang muna sa basketball.”

The 38-year-old Yap was in Milano Marittima, Italy with fiancée Michela Cazzola, their son Michael James and daughter Francesca Michelle for three months since June.

Yap came back last Sept. 4 as he rejoined the team when the government allowed practice sessions for the PBA.

Rain or Shine finished the elimination with a 6-5 card to book the No. 8 spot in the quarterfinal, which means a date with twice-to-beat and top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the knockout stage.

James Yap and his signature one-hander. (PBA Images)

The quarterfinal playoff is set Friday at the AUF gym in Clark, Pampanga.

Regardless of what happens in the campaign of the Elasto Painters, whether they advance all the way to the semifinal or final, or go home after the quarterfinal, Yap said it remains uncertain – for now – if he would fly back immediately to Italy to be with his family.

“Nakaka-usap ko naman si Mich, and yung mga bata. Ang sabi sa akin medyo may tumataas na cases in some parts. So baka mahirap ako maka-balik. Pero tignan ko pa din muna,” said Yap.

“If puwede naman, balik ako. Pero kung hindi, tignan ko kelan puwede,” added Yap, who had a hard time flying back to the country from Italy as boarders in Doha – the usual itinerary for flights from Italy to the Philippines – were closed several times due to COVID-19 pandemic.

If not this month, Yap said he is definitely spending the Holiday in Italy.

Read: Lots of work for James Yap to get to ‘game shape’

Yap said he is making the most of his time inside the PBA bubble as his daily routine includes team practice, weights session, therapy and recovery on a rest day.

“Ok naman dito sa loob ng bubble, talagang kung ano lang ang routine ko, yun ginagawa ko. Memorable na itong bubble – biro mo nakagawa pa ako ng record,” said Yap laughing.

The record Yap mentioned is when he tied at No. 3 former PBA player Ronnie Magsanoc for most three-pointers made with 1,171. Jimmy Alapag holds the record with 1,250, followed by Allan Caidic with 1,242.

Yap said he was in Italy when Rain or Shine boss Raymund Yu, co-owner of the franchise with good buddy Terry Que, reminded him of the all-time three-point list.

“Si boss Raymund ang nag-paalala sa akin, sabi niya ‘O kunin mo yung record malapit ka na din pala (with Magsanoc).’ Kaya masaya na nakakuha pa ng record sa PBA,” said Yap, who achieved the feat in an 82-71 victory against Blackwater last Thursday.

For now, Yap said his focus now is on the playoffs.

“Maganda kung manalo kami against Ginebra, maka-advance sa second round – semifinal, Basta laban lng talaga kami. Kung mananalo may pambili ng ticket going to Italy,” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/11/12/james-yap-misses-family-in-italy-but-quarterfinals-vs-ginebra-remains-his-focus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=james-yap-misses-family-in-italy-but-quarterfinals-vs-ginebra-remains-his-focus)