Easy choice on who gets to wear it.
The number 18 jersey has had quite the history under the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Before James Yap, there was already one person in Elasto Painters lore who wore that number with a lot of pride—hard-nosed guard Ryan Araña.
From 2007 to 2015, Araña made his name in the PBA while wearing no. 18 for Rain or Shine, and it was quite the ride for the defensive specialist. In that span, he was a crucial figure, whether as a starter or a role player, as he helped the proud franchise win one of its two PBA titles.
But come 2015, Araña was traded to the then-Barako Bull Energy. Immediately after that, he was traded to the San Miguel Beermen.
The former De La Salle Green Archers standout then became a journeyman in the league, joining teams such as the Mahindra Floodbusters (now Terrafirma Dyip) and the NorthPort Batang Pier.
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But once he returned to Rain or Shine in 2020, Araña found someone else wearing his jersey number—none other than Yap.
Wearing the jersey number of PBA legends has been quite a discussion as of late in the local hoops community.
That’s why Araña had quite the perspective when he decided to chime in during a recent PBA Motoclub vlog.
“Siyempre James Yap 'yun, pare. Ako ang mag-a-adjust,” Araña said laughingly. “Pagpasok niya dun, ginamit niya no. 18. Eh bumalik ako, no. 18 din siya, nag-adjust ako (no.) 25.”
Araña probably understood that giving the jersey number he wore consistently throughout his PBA career to one of the greatest to ever do it was the right choice.
“Out of respect naman kay James. Kahit na nine years ko ginamit 'yung no. 18 sa Rain or Shine, binigay ko na sa kanya kasi siyempre, one of the legends natin si James,” said Araña.
He would go on to give short but sweet advice to those getting salty about jersey numbers.
“Huwag lang tayong sensitive. Masyado kasi minsan sensitive about diyan eh,” said Araña, who'd probably give up any jersey number willingly to anyone who would want to wear it.
He had no problem giving his no. 18 to Big Game James, after all.