Alapag's coaching career flourishes

© The Manila Times RAISING THE BAR The Sacramento Kings coaching staff, including former PBA star Jimmy Alapag (standing 3rd from right) pose after winning the championship of the NBA Summer League last month in Las Vegas. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“The Big J” Robert Jaworski. “The Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos. “The Atom Bomb” Ato Agustin. “The Point Laureate” Ronnie Magsanoc and “Rah-Rah” Olsen Racela.

These are some of the all-time greatest guards who became members of champion teams as player and coach in the PBA.

Add to that elite list “The Mighty Mouse” Jimmy Alapag who is a six-time champion as a player for Talk ‘N Text and two-time champion as assistant coach for San Miguel.

Alapag, however, raises the bar to the next level as he also won a championship as head coach of the Beermen in the Asean Basketball League in 2018.

The long-time team captain of Gilas Pilipinas takes it even further.

Alapag was part of the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings who ruled the 2021 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. And now, he is included in the coaching staff of the Stockton Kings in the NBA G League.

“Back when I was playing, I took a lot of pride in trying to live up, I guess, to the bar that was set by a lot of great point guards who came before I did in the PBA,” Alapag told The Manila Times at the No Holds Barred Podcast.

“There are so many. From Jaworski, Ricky Brown, Hector Calma, Johnny Abarrientos, Ronnie Magsanoc, Olsen Racela, just to name a few. Those guys obviously set the bar very, very high for the position.”

Alapag held his ground in the PBA and made a name for himself.

“For someone like myself coming to the position, I always tried my best to be mentioned in the conversation with those guys because not only did they win, they also played the game the right way. That’s just as important not only on success on the court, but how they became successful in the league itself. I appreciate that,” Alapag said.

“I walked away on my terms, knowing I gave my heart and soul to the game, and I had my chances to be OK with that. Now, I’m taking my chances in coaching.”

Immediately after retirement as a player, Alapag assumed the role as team executive for TNT, then joined the coaching staff of Tab Baldwin for Gilas Pilipinas.

Alapag made a brief return as a player, leading the Meralco Bolts all the way to the championship round of the 2016 Governors’ Cup and broke the record for most number of three-point shots made with 1,250.

“When I retired and had the team manager position at Talk ‘N Text, the conversation I had with Coach Norman (Black) and the respect I have for him made me return,” Alapag said.

“To be honest, at that time, I knew I could still play. Obviously, Talk ‘N Text was at a transitional stage at that time. I think they wanted to go in another direction, which you have to respect. To have an opportunity to play for Coach Norman, somebody who’s known from the time I set my foot in the Philippines, and to be able to join a young team, guys like Baser Amer, Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, and to be able to offer my wisdom and my experience, 12, 13 years prior. I felt it was like one last challenge before the time I walked away and the great thing was I already had my son and my daughter was just born. The timing of all of it seemed to just work out. It was a great one season for Meralco for sure.”

Alapag is turning a new page to his coaching career, and like what he did in his playing career, he embraces the challenge with open arms.

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