Jimmy Alapag is hoping to bring in his hard-earned smarts from the international stage as he calls the shots for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL)—the first stint as head-coach of the “Mighty Mouse.”
“I hope it (experience with Gilas Pilipinas) will be helpful. I hope the experiences that I went through I can share with our players and hopefully it will help them when they run the court,” Alapag told The Manila Times.
Alapag was a long-time member of the national team. He has been the captain of the Gilas squad who won the silver medal in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Championship in 2013 that ended the country’s 40-year drought in the FIBA World Cup in 2014.
After his storied career as a player for Gilas, Alapag continued to serve the national team as an assistant coach.
The 39-year old Alapag is grateful to his former mentors.
“Throughout my career I played for guys like coach Chot Reyes and Norman Black, two Hall of Famer coaches. To be able to learn from them all these years, hopefully I can apply it now that I’m a coach,” he said.
“I learned a lot from them, from preparation to the flow of practice and motivating the players. I’m just thankful I had the chance to learn from all of them. I’ll continue to learn as I will be coaching Alab.”
Now that he is a mentor himself, the six-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) champion and the 2011 PBA Most Valuable Player expects nothing short of winning.
“We expect to win. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work. It will be important for us to focus on the upcoming season once practice starts,” Alapag said.
“We’re going to try our best to compete for the championship,” he added, as Alab seeks to improve from its semifinal finish last season.
The former TNT Katropa and Meralco playmaker sees the reigning titlist Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions as the biggest threat but vows that Alab will be competitive against all other teams.
Alapag already has Gilas standout Bobby Ray Parks Jr. in the lineup and he hopes to have a complete roster this month.
“Right now, we’re on the process of putting the roster together. I hope our practice will start by the end of September so we can get ready for the season.”