JIMMY Alapag said he enjoys watching Jason Brickman play, and while he didn’t take pleasure in having the Fil-Am on the opposite team in the ABL finals, the Alab Pilipinas coach was still all praises for Mono Vampire’s playmaker.
Brickman showed why he’s known as one of the best pure point guards in the regional league as he finished with 15 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and five steals before succumbing to cramps late in Alab's 143-130 overtime win on Sunday.
Alapag, who carved a reputation as one of the premier playmakers in the PBA during his playing career, made no effort to hide his admiration of Brickman.
“I’ve been a big fan of Brickman for a long time. This season I’ve had an opportunity to see his game up close and I’m really, really impressed - one of the smartest point guards I’ve seen in a long time,” said Alapag.
“For somebody who doesn’t blow you away with athleticism and size, his basketball IQ is off the charts. If you let him pick you apart, he will. Again, aside from catching a break, with (Samuel) Deguara fouling out, we caught another break with him cramping,” he added.
Alapag said that Brickman’s style of play reminds him of Utah Jazz great John Stockton.
Like Stockton, Brickman doesn’t blow everyone away with his athleticism and quick first step but he will definitely dictate the tempo of the game with his basketball IQ and sheer skill, the former PBA MVP and Gilas Pilipinas captain added.
“The first guy that comes to mind is John Stockton. Their build, again having been a point guard my entire career, watching the passes that he makes and seeing the type of seam that he throws them through. It’s a really, really small window and he gets the ball through there,” Alapag added.
“He’s much different than some of the point guards that we’ve seen in the ABL, who are more athletic, might be a little bit faster. He beats you with his ability to forward the ball and he throws it with accuracy.”
Asked how he thinks Brickman will do when the Mono guard finally turns pro in the Philippines, the former PBA MVP and six-time champion answered without hesitation.
“Absolutely. Without question. He’d be one of the best point guards in the PBA tomorrow.”
Alapag can be a fan of Brickman later, though. As for now, he is focused on trying to find a way to stop the 26-year-old guard moving forward in this championship series.
“I’ll try to watch the tape tonight and figure out how to try and limit him. His 14 assists, accounted for easily 30 points. We have to do a much better job,” said Alapag.
“I’ve been a big fan of him but I’m gonna try not to big of a fan ’til this series is over.”