JAMES Yap is aware sooner or later his remarkable PBA career will be coming to an end.
And so before the curtain finally closes, 'Big Game' James hopes to achieve a feat for his swan song.
"Pang three years ko na sa Rain or Shine so sana bago man lang matapos yung career ko makapag-champion din naman sa Rain or Shine kahit paano," said the league's two-time MVP.
"Kahit isang championship lang," he added.
Yap revealed his wish in the 2OT podcast show of PBA game anchors Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Marjon.
Since his blockbuster trade with Paul Lee that saw him left the Purefoods franchise for Rain or Shine in 2017, the veteran wingman has yet to make it back in the finals.
The closest he and the Elasto Painters got of advancing together to the championship round came in last year's Philippine Cup when they lost to ironically, Magnolia in the decisive Game 7 of the semis in which they led by as many as 17 points at one time.
Winning a title with the RoS franchise would also be a fitting gift by Yap to the late team matriarch Margaret Yu, mother of co-team owner Raymund Yu, who's also considered as the no. 1 fan of the Elasto Painters.
The elder Yu had been an ardent supporter of the 38-year-old pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental since his amateur days when he also suited up for the Welbest franchise.
"Mabigyan man lang ng kasiyahan si Mommy Yu. Nung nalipat ako sa RoS (kasi) nasa langit na si mommy, kaya hindi na niya ako nakitang maglaro sa team niya," recalled Yap, a seven-time champion and four-time Finals MVP.
Even before the PBA season was postponed indefinitely with the outbreak of the coronavirus, Yap was positive about the campaign of the team, which he noted has a fine blend of veteran and upcoming players.
The presence of promising young guns Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon and the entry of rookies Prince Rivero, Adrian Wong, Vince Tolentino, and Clint Doliquez gave Yap enough reason to be enthusiastic about the Elasto Painters.
"Kailangan mo talaga magpa-kundisyon, ang bibilis tumakbo (ng mga bata)," he said. "Ma-match mo dapat yung energy nila, kaya after practice, extra pa-kundisyon ako kasi mahirap pag hindi ka kundisyon tapos sasabayan mo yung mga bata.'
"Kaya sa practice, ginugulangan ko na lang sila."
Yap, Gabe Norwood, Mark Borboran, and Beau Belga are the only veterans left with the Elasto Painters, but nonetheless, he sees a bright future for the franchise with the infusion of young bloods to the roster.
He sees Mocon and Nambatac as possible cornerstone of the team once he and the other vets are no longer with Rain or Shine.
But first thing first. He wants another league title this time with the Elasto Painters.
"Para masuklian naman yung suporta ng management sa amin," he said of co-owners Yu and Terry Que, who always make it a point to be in the venue during Rain or Shine games.
"Sobrang bait ng management ng RoS. Always one hundred percent silang behind sa akin at sa team," said the 16-time All-Star. "Nakakataba ng puso na alam mo yung suporta ng management sa inyo." (RG)