James Yap

James Yap" alt="James Yap"/>{mosgoogle}James Yap, shooting guard for the Philippine Basketball Association team Purefoods Chunkee Giants, has enjoyed a star-studded two-year career. After becoming one of the most promising players during his high school years, he went on to play first for amateur teams, leading them to victories, then was drafted in 2004 by Purefoods. Yap married Kris Aquino in 2005 (but managed to keep the news quiet for months) and are expecting a child in 2007.

Born James Carlos Yap, February 15, 1982, he hails from Escalante City in the Negros Occidental region of the Philippines and began playing basketball in the second grade. He was a star basketball player in his high school years, and went on to University of the East, where he played for the Red Warriors.

With the help of several other team members, Yap led the Red Warriors to several wins that left them in a final four playoff series. It had been years since the Red Warriors had participated in the Final Four. Although the University of the East lost to Ateneo de Manila University, the Red Warriors went on to win the Collegiate Champions League title in 2002. The team saw Final Four action the following year as well, but again lost in the semifinals. Still, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines honored Yap with the MVP vote.

Yap was noticed in his amateur career, and was picked up by Purefoods TJ Hotdogs in the 2004 draft. However, he had a mediocre year and lost the Rookie of the Year award to Rich Alvarez of the Shell team.

The 2005 season saw the TJ Hotdogs change names to the Purefoods Chunkee Giants, and a change in James Yap as well. He and his teammates led the Giants to an appearance at the Fiesta Conference, where they earned a runner-up position; but Yap faced down the Red Bull team to help the Giants win the 2006 Philippine Cup Championship. For this, Yap won the year’s PBA Most Valuable Player Award.

Other awards include: First Five Mythical Team Member, 2003, University Athletic Association of the Philippines and First Five Mythical Team Member, 2005-2006 season, PBA.{mos_ri}{mosgoogle}

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