JAMES YAP’S era with the Star has ended on Wednesday, after the Hotshots agreed to deal the two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) to Rain or Shine for another star—fellow former University of the East standout Paul Lee.
In a stunning move by both teams, the 12-year veteran Yap will don a new uniform beginning next season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after leading the Star franchise to seven league titles.
“I think it will benefit both teams,” Elasto Painters Head Coach Caloy Garcia told the BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “His [Yap] experience will help us, especially with our young players like Jericho Cruz and Maverick Ahanmisi, and James will give us other dimensions in our offense.”
The 34-year-old Yap entered the PBA in 2004 and was the face of the franchise for a decade, winning two MVP awards in 2006 and 2010 and four Finals MVP trophies. Yap left the Star team that underachieved under its rookie coach Jason Webb.
Now, Webb got a younger star in Lee, who is also joining his second PBA team after being drafted second overall by Rain or Shine in 2011. The 27-year-old Lee, like Yap, is also negotiating for a fresh contract.
It was a reunion of sorts for Yap, who played for Welcoat Paints in the now-defunct Philippine Basketball League. Welcoat and Rain or Shine are coowned by Terry Que and Raymund Yu.
The Yap-Lee deal was the second movement for the Elasto Painters on Wednesday as they also shipped JR Quiñahan to GlobalPort for Anthony Washington.
Both trades are still up for approval by Commissioner Chito Narvasa as of late Thursday.