FOUR months away from the 2018-2019 Asean Basketball League season and Jimmy Alapag knows that it’s going to be a tough task for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas as they seek back-to-back titles in the regional league.
“That'll definitely be a challenge,” he said.
Alab’s core players have taken their act elsewhere after their championship conquest last May.
World imports Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee were picked up by San Miguel and Ginebra, respectively, for the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Two-time ABL Local MVP Bobby Ray Parks and other players joined different teams in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, while Pao Javelona was signed by PBA team GlobalPort.
Despite the movements, Alapag was happy with the opportunities Alab created for these players.
“We lost a lot of our guys but at the same time, I'm happy for them. Because of our success last season, they've created more opportunities for them to continue playing. I think preparing for this upcoming season, that's the challenge,” he said.
From last year’s team, only Josh Urbiztondo, Dondon Hontiveros and Rico Maierhofer remain with the squad.
Alab did gain a major piece as Fil-Am forward Caelan Tiongson joins the Philippine side for this upcoming season. The 26-year-old averaged 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his stint with Chong Son Kung Fu last year.
“We're really excited to have him on board. I was really impressed with how he played last season for Kung Fu and we're looking forward to having him,” he said. “I think he gives us a ton of versatility on both ends, especially on defense. He's very similar to a Rudy Hatfield and we all know how successful Rudy was in the PBA.”