MANILA, Philippines – Blackwater Bossing team owner Dioceldo Sy has confirmed he is actively pursuing a bid to acquire PBA legend James Yap to spearhead the franchise’s rebuild for next season.
On Tuesday, Sy revealed he has already tendered a contract offer to the 41-year-old Yap, a two-time PBA MVP, believing he still has enough left in the tank to contribute at a high level.
“I have an offer but no news yet,” said Sy, who was in an important business meeting when contacted.
Despite Yap’s advanced age, Sy is convinced the skills and talent of a generational player like him do not diminish easily. “He may be aging and a bit slow, but I can still see him as better than other players. He’s on a different level and his experience can help our youngsters to be like him, or at least close to what he can do and has achieved,” Sy explained.
The Blackwater boss said the team would be willing to give Yap meaningful minutes as a featured offensive option. “He can play 15 minutes or more for us as long as he can. And knowing how James values conditioning and fitness, I’m sure he can be an asset for us offensively,” Sy said.
In Yap’s most recent PBA conference with Rain or Shine this past season, his statistical production had declined to just 5 points in under 10 minutes per game over 3 appearances. However, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy believes Yap’s numbers could rise significantly given the right system and proper role.
Sy feels the triangle offense run by Blackwater coach Jeffrey Cariaso is an ideal fit to maximize Yap’s late-career strengths. As the centerpiece of Tim Cone’s triangle system with BMEG in 2014, Yap enjoyed arguably his most efficient offensive season.
“He fits the bill, right?” Sy remarked, indicating he could envision Yap flourishing once again in a triangle scheme alongside Blackwater’s younger talents. Having a former MVP serve as an anchor and mentor would be invaluable.
Aside from Blackwater, sources revealed that two other PBA clubs have also expressed strong interest in acquiring the services of the 41-year-old native of Escalante, Negros Occidental.
There was also some initial interest from Japan B.League teams following Rain or Shine’s announcement that they would not renew Yap’s contract. However, Yap’s local government duties as a councilor in San Juan City may preclude pursuing an overseas offer.
With multiple PBA suitors lined up, Sy appears willing to make the most aggressive pitch to ensure Yap finishes his legendary playing career in a Blackwater uniform. Providing him with an offensive-focused role along with potential business opportunities and jersey retirement ceremonies down the road could be the key.
After years of underachievement, the boss is eager to make a splash. Signing an all-time great like James Yap could provide much-needed excitement and credibility to the franchise as they look to contend once again.
Sy confirmed he has put a “juicy offer” on the table, including potential product endorsements. “More than the fan attraction James can give us, we want something bigger for James,” he said.
“We want to give James the fitting career ending he wants. We will give him playing time so his last years as a player will be memorable for his fans. And yes, we are willing to retire his jersey with us,” Sy declared.
Retiring together with Yap would be his former Purefoods teammate Marc Pingris, now an assistant coach with Blackwater. Sy is open to the idea of a joint jersey retirement ceremony for the two PBA greats if Yap joins the Bossing.
After a mostly fruitless PBA tenure, an aging superstar like Yap could be exactly what Blackwater needs to revitalize their franchise. His savvy and scoring punch can elevate the team’s young core while providing a bridge to the future.
Sy appears willing to make the investment and provide the stage for Yap to author a storybook ending to an illustrious career. While other suitors circle, the Blackwater owner may have made the most compelling pitch yet.