US basketball

Alapag undergoes week-long interview stint just to get G League Kings job

JR Isaga
Alapag undergoes week-long interview stint just to get G League Kings job

WORTH IT. Jimmy Alapag goes through a strenuous series of interviews before receiving another prestigious coaching stint in the NBA.

Jimmy Alapag Instagram page

Jimmy Alapag reveals the difficulties to land the assistant coaching post with the NBA G League's Stockton Kings

Even the most casual NBA fan today already has an inkling on just how difficult it is to earn a spot in the world’s best basketball league.

That arduous path where the strongest prospects are weeded out from the common herd of budding NBA players is common knowledge by now, but what’s likely less known is that the path for coaches is just as hard to go through.

New NBA G League assistant coach Jimmy Alapag of the Stockton Kings gave a glimpse of that lesser-known process as he spoke on Off the Record with Migs and Cesca on Tuesday, August 24.

One would think that a PBA legend, an eight-time PBA champion (six as a player, and two as an assistant coach), and an ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champion head coach will have the red carpet rolled out for him leading straight to the NBA sidelines.

But as the 43-year-old mentor bared, the process is just not that simple.

“I went through the whole interview process for about a week. Pretty stressful, not because I wasn’t prepared with the basketball questions. I just didn’t know what the process would be like,” he said.

Alapag had to talk with five different people over that week, namely Stockton general manager Paul Johnson, head coach Bobby Jackson, lead assistant Will Scott, director of basketball operations Sydney Haydel, and Monte McNair, GM of the main Sacramento team.

“Pretty stressful week, but I thought the interview process went great. It led to the Summer League, I sat down with them, they offered me the job, and here I am,” he continued.

Alapag initially got involved with the Kings’ coaching circle after his wife LJ Moreno suggested that he message ex-NBA star center and former Sacramento GM Vlade Divac, whom Alapag met in the FIBA Player Commission years before.

Although he said he wasn’t expecting a reply, Divac got back to him about an hour after his message, and offered him a deputy coaching spot in the Summer League team, which Alapag wasted no time accepting.

At that point, Alapag had just finished his rookie season as a head coach with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, and immediately nabbed the 2018 ABL title after masterfully blending the star power of Justin Brownlee, Renaldo Balkman, and Ray Parks, Jr.

Fast forward to the present, and the “Mighty Mouse” is a four-time champion coach, most recently winning the 2021 Summer League title with Sacramento in his second stint as an assistant.

However, all that accolades were not enough, and the Kings had to make absolutely sure that Alapag is the right man for the job for their minor league affiliate, which just goes to show how rigorous the selection process is in the NBA.

Even Alapag’s fellow Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra worked up the Miami Heat’s ranks for 13 years before he was promoted to the head coaching job in 2008.

He is now a two-time champion coach, and is the second-longest tenured chief shot-caller in the NBA, just behind San Antonio Spurs all-time great Gregg Popovich.

Only time will tell if Alapag also has that kind of success waiting for him, but this G League job is surely a significant first step. –

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