SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag was happy to share what he has known all along: Jason Brickman is one of the top point guards in the country.
The Fil-Am court general had a chance to prove just how good he was on Monday in Alab's 98-95 defeat to Gilas Pilipinas in a tuneup game that saw the Asean Basketball League (ABL) side give the national team a run for its money.
Brickman held his own against some of the top point guards in the country, holding no fear against the likes of LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, and Chris Ross.
And that's exactly what Alapag expects from his playmaker.
"Obviously, Jason Brickman is Jason Brickman and it's pretty cool to see him competing against guys like LA, Stanley, and C-Ross because I think he's right up there with them in terms of being elite point guards," he said.
But it's not limited to just Brickman, with Alapag also drawing solid showings from the rejigged Alab squad altogether which played with just Adrian Forbes as its reinforcement.
"It was big for us to just get someone different and in a game setting, with the referees, and obviously with a quality opponent. So I'm really happy with the way the guys competed," said the concurrent Gilas assistant coach.
"We need these tuneup games as we build our chemistry and our camaraderie this season. Tuneup games are always good barometers of just where we're at as a team, especially conditioning-wise and rhythm-wise, but I'm really happy with what I saw," he added.
Renaldo Balkman and Khalif Wyatt sat out the exhibition game owing to injuries and Alab's locals took full advantage, with Louie Vigil leading the team with 18 points.
That effort didn't go unnoticed.
"I thought Louie Vigil played really well. I'm excited for him to get an opportunity to get out here. I know he was a big-time score in college and he flashed a little bit of that again, so I'm excited to have him," he said.
"I was really happy with our team. For us to play this first tuneup game, didn't really know what to expect, really just wanted to get the guys out playing and running up and down. I'm really happy with the effort. Obviously still a lot of work to do, but again, I'm happy with this group, they're a great character group, they work hard, and we'll continue to build up to the opener."
Alab gets one more crack at Gilas next week before starting its ABL season on the road against Mono Vampire on November 17.