JIMMY Alapag doesn't want to make a big deal out of Tanduay Alab Pilipinas' win in a tune-up game against Gilas Pilipinas last week, but said he was nevertheless happy with the effort the team put in ahead of its Asean Basketball League (ABL) season debut on Sunday.
Playing without import Ivan Johnson and reigning league MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Alab pulled off an 81-76 win over Gilas almost a week before opening the season against reigning champion Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Gilas loss left head coach Chot Reyes fuming, but Alapag said the tune-up game doesn't really show the strength of both teams.
"Nothing at all. I don't really read too much into tune-up games," said Alapag after practice. "It's just an opportunity for both Alab and for Gilas to get the guys playing a competitive game and work on what we need offensively and defensively.
"I was happy with the effort especially winning a tune-up without Ivan and Ray. I thought just effort-wise, execution-wise, we did well," Alapag, a former star and later assistant coach at Gilas, added.
Alapag hopes the team will use the match against Gilas as a springboard to a strong start in the coming ABL season. Alab makes its debut on Sunday at home against Hong Kong, a team that has returning import Marcus Elliott and PBA top draft pick Christian Standhardinger.
"It's important with one day of preparation left to try to bring that same execution and effort," said Alapag. "The guys have been working hard the last six weeks throughout our preparation. Everybody is healthy and that's what we want going up against Hong Kong."