The rumor linking Isabel Oli to a cager began in December 2009.
According to the article published in PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the guy was "katulad niya [na] laking-Bisaya."
The names of Dondon Hontiveros, a Cebuano, and Wesley Gonzales, a Manileño, came up, but Isabel quickly denied that anything romantic was brewing. "Hindi, ah! Actually, ang dami-dami kong friends na basketball players..."
In October 2010, she was spotted malling with James Yap, who—at that time—was embroiled in a controversy over a marital settlement with his famous wife, Kris Aquino.
(The TV host-actress announced their legal separation in July 2010.)
Isabel confirmed the sighting, but denied she was out on a date with James. In an article published last October 8, 2010, the Kapuso actress said, "Why kaya parang walang nakakita ng kasama ko that time? Para naman non-existent yung ka-date ko at kami lang ni James ang nakita ng nag-scoop noon. I was with somebody that time..." (CLICK HERE to read story.)
For his part, James swore "wala," when a PEP reporter asked him about his supposed romantic involvement with Isabel.
The two would echo the same answer in the succeeding months.
Isabel made two more statements—December 15, 2010 and March 21, 2011—about the same topic, and stressed "We're not dating." James also said he's not courting her in an article posted on PEP last March 7.
Meanwhile, Kris seemed to have no qualms about the pairing. Early this year, she related how she approached Isabel in a wedding and said, "Hi, I'm Kris. I know you're Isabel. Hindi pa nga tayo na-introduce, na-intriga na tayo." (CLICK HERE to read story.)
Why does the issue continue to persist? Perhaps it's because the people concerned would talk about it whenever media would bring up the topic.
How did it get so big? James and Kris's son Bimby categorically answered "Isabel" in an interview when asked if he knew the name of his daddy's girlfriend. (CLICK HERE to read story.)
WHAT THE PEPSTERS THINK. Majority—44.80%, to be exact—of readers said they believe Bimby's "revelation," which insinuated that the two are already "magkasintahan."
Some 38.71% said they believe the consistent denial of Isabel and James, choosing "magkaibigan" as their answer to the poll.
Only 16.49% said they are not sure.