FOR former national team member Elmer Reyes, Jimmy Alapag ranks among the greatest shooters the country ever produced.
And that’s the reason why it will be a big blow to the Gilas Pilipinas cage program if ever Alapag stays firm on his decision to retire from playing with the national team.
“Si Jimmy talaga ang isa sa pinaka-mahusay at pinaka-high percentage shooter ng Pilipinas. I will rank him on the same level as Bogs Adornado,” said Reyes, a reliable back-up in coach Ron Jacobs’ Northern Consolidated Corp. squad who was a streak shooter himself during his playing days.
“Kaya nalungkot ako nung madinig ko na talagang matigas na ang desisyon niya na mag-retire,” said Reyes, who became more impressed with Alapag following his gallant stand with Gilas Pilipinas during its thrilling game against Argentina in the Fiba World Cup Tuesday morning.
The sweet-shooting former PBA guard, known as the star reliever for Samboy Lim at NCC and later on, with San Miguel, is aware Alapag has made himself a name in international tournaments owing to his deadly three point shooting which sometimes even extends from way beyond the arc.
“Yun ang specialty ni Jimmy. You cannot leave him alone kahit sa halfcourt line. Kasi he won’t hesitate to take the shot. And the Koreans certainly know that,” said Reyes, while recalling how the former PBA MVP scored on two crucial three-pointers in Gilas Pilipinas’ semifinal match against the Koreans during the 2013 Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship here.
“Jimmy’s ability to nail three pointers from downtown adds additional space for his teammates, na-i-spread ang floor kapag si Jimmy ang nagbababa ng bola, kasi obligadong dikitan siya sa malayo nung bantay niya,” he said.
Reyes, an integral part of San Miguel Beer’s Grand Slam unit in 1989, is also impressed with Alapag possessing the mindset of a true champion.
“Nakita ko sa ugali ni Jimmy na gusto niyang mag-retire nang nasa magandang estado ang career niya. Ayaw niyang abutin pa na sinasagasaan at pinapahiya na lamang siya ng mga mas bata,” he said.
“Yun ang reason why he will never back down sa desisyon niya na mag-retire. Bakit hindi? I am sure he is bound to become one of the best players this country has produced,” added the father of Alaska guard Raffy Reyes.
The former San Beda Red Lion star also believes Alapag and the rest of the Gilas team will continue to surprise the world in the ongoing world championship in Spain.
“Oo kaya natin. End game poise na lang siguro. Dun tayo nadali ng Croatia at kagabi nga ng Argentina,” said Reyes while preparing for a game with the Rain or Shine and Ironcon-backed Filipino-Chinese 50-years-and-up team in Bangkok, Thailand.