STA. ROSA, Philippines – Surrounded by the best basketball minds in his entire playing and coaching career, Jimmy Alapag will now have the chance to pick the brain of the winningest mentor in PBA history.
Alapag will serve as an assistant coach to new Gilas Pilipinas tactician Tim Cone as the country seeks to capture its 18th gold medal in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games that will be staged in December.
His knowledge of the players in the Southeast Asian region will come in handy for the national team as Alapag spent two years coaching for Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.
"Always an honor representing the country. I've been a part of the program for a long while," said the former Gilas Pilipinas captain, who played a pivotal role in sending the team to the FIBA World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
"To have this opportunity with coach Tim for the first time – he's one of the greatest coaches to ever coach in the Philippines – so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with him."
Alapag has learned from the Philippines' top coaches in the past.
He played under the tutelage of Chot Reyes and Tab Baldwin in Gilas Pilipinas, Norman Black in Meralco, and worked with Jong Uichico in helping the country clinch gold in the SEA Games in 2017.
"Whether you are a player or as a coach, the learning process continues. I've been fortunate throughout my career – as a player and even coaching – to be around some of the best minds in our country," Alapag said.
Aside from soaking up knowledge from Cone, Alapag said he also relishes the opportunity of reuniting with Jayson Castro and LA Tenorio, who were his teammates in the World Cup in 2014.
"It's going to be great to be around the guys, especially LA and Jayson. It's been a while since we've been together. Looking forward to it." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.