MANILA, MAY 2, 2007
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - The possibility of James Yap being excused and not levied a fine for arriving late for the recent PBA All-Star Week loomed yesterday as his wife Kris Aquino explained he had a family crisis to attend to.

Yap missed the All-Star activities in San Fernando, La Union, leading to the Baguio climax but made it on time for the North versus South game last Sunday. He arrived in Baguio the night before the contest.

Yap, the reigning PBA MVP, scored 17 points in a losing effort as the North downed the South, 145-142. He hit seven points in the payoff period as the South made it close down the stretch after squandering a 22-point lead in the third quarter and trailing by 12. Yap was the South’s second leading scorer behind Kelly Williams who shot 28.

Yap was in the initial list of participants for the obstacle contest in San Fernando last Thursday. His spot was taken over by Purefoods teammate Roger Yap.

"People were not made aware until Sunday that both Baby James and I were in critical condition," said Kris to The STAR.

"Had I not had my emergency caesarian last April 19, Baby James would have died in my womb. I suffered severe complications and I needed another surgery last April 23 because I had further bleeding and needed blood transfusions.

"James went up to Baguio last Saturday because it was only Friday that Baby James and I were finally out of the woods. In fact, Baby James and I went home on our own Sunday because James was already in Baguio.

"I know that James had secured permission. My family and I are very grateful to James for really taking care of me and not leaving Baby James and I during our most precarious times. As we’ve both learned, family does take priority over everything else."

The actress said she was up early yesterday morning for breakfast with Yap and to breast-feed their baby son.

"My mom picked up James at 7 a.m. because they were flying to Cebu and Iloilo to campaign for Noy," she said. "They’ll be home after dinner. James got permission to miss practice from (team governor) Mr. (Rene) Pardo and coach Ryan (Gregorio). My mom really asked this favor of James since he speaks fluent Cebuano and Ilonggo.

"They flew by private plane and I told James that since my Mom prays nine rosaries a day, that’s what they’ll do on the flights. I felt the need to explain James’ side to set things straight. Poor James because had he gone to the All-Star early and people became aware of my real health situation, then he’d be criticized by everyone for not being a caring husband and dad. No win situation."

Pardo confirmed yesterday Yap attended to his family during the crisis period.

"James told me he informed the PBA office he had to beg off from the obstacle contest and could only go to Baguio on Saturday because of Kris’ condition," said Pardo. "In fact, he couldn’t even check out Kris and their baby from the hospital last Sunday because of his commitment to the PBA. James had a valid reason why he couldn’t attend the All-Star activities up to the All-Star Game. He’ll be ready to play our next game against Coca-Cola on Friday."

Yap, 25, was the All-Star Game’s second highest vote-getter with 106,004 ballots behind only Danny Seigle’s 118,260. The only others to garner at least 100,000 votes were Eric Menk and Mark Caguioa. He was one of five MVPs named to the All-Star cast. The others were Menk (2004-05), Asi Taulava (2003), Willie Miller (2002) and Danny Ildefonso (2000-01).

Yap is averaging 24.2 points in the Fiesta Conference, up from 16.3 in the Philippine Cup, and his 7.9 increase is the highest increment in the league. He is one of only four players to score in double figures every game in the Fiesta Conference with a low of 10 and a high of 36. The only others in the elite circle are Gary David, Kelly Williams and Sonny Thoss.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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