AKTV/Paul Ryan Tan
The throng of fans had just left, happy to have had their pictures taken with their idol. With heavy icepacks on his knees, James Yap sat in one corner of the gym, checking his email on his phone, where a fan had just sent him photos published on InterAKTV of his son at the previous night’s game.
“Ang cute niya ‘no? Bakit kaya siya nakangiti ng ganyan?” said Yap as he scrolled through images of Baby James’ smiling face on his Blackberry.
“Siguro natuwa sa dami ng tao.”
For PBA fans, the younger Yap’s presence during his father’s games has been familiar; he has been going to Yap’s games since he was literally a baby.
“Siyempre, lahat naman ng tatay, kapag nandiyan yung anak nila, ibang klaseng motivation yun,” said the elder Yap.
“Pero ngayon kasi, masarap, kasi nagsisimula na siyang makaintindi ng basketball.”
He said that after games, Baby James has already been keenly asking him questions about the team’s performance — just like the curious toddler does in his milk commercials with his mother, Kris Aquino.
“Minsan, tatanungin niya ako, ‘Why did we lose, Papa?’”
Baby James and Big James on a bonding session. Courtesy of James Yap's Twitter account
Baby James has also started mimicking his father’s mannerisms on the court. Recently, James has started doing a smoking gun gesture after made three-pointers — “Nadadala lang sa laro,” he said — and Baby James has been imitating him when he plays with his toy basketball.
James is thrilled that his son is beginning to love the game that has been so good to him, because it gives them another avenue for bonding.
“Kapag talo, minsan sasabihin niya sa akin, ‘Don’t worry Papa, you’re still No. 1,’” he said.
“Alam mo yun, nakakawala ng pagod.”