JIMMY Alapag may have retired from Gilas Pilipinas, but that doesn’t mean he’s totally turning his back on the national team.
The veteran point guard didn’t rule out the possibility of perhaps joining the Gilas coaching staff especially if the new man at the helm, Tab Baldwin, will personally ask for his assistance.
“I’ll absolutely be open to it,” said Alapag, who turned 37 on Tuesday. “I would love to be involved and do whatever I can to help these new guys who I’m sure would be added to the pool.”
Alapag was the most consistent player in Gilas’ stint during the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in the year 2014, two major international tournaments that also served as his last tour of duty for the national team.
And even with a new coach in Baldwin succeeding Chot Reyes as Gilas coach, the Talk `N Text stalwart remains firm in his decision to finally hang up his sneakers as far as playing for the Philippine team is concerned.
“No, no, no,” he repeatedly said when asked if ever he’ll reconsider to play again for Gilas under Baldwin.
“It’s time to let some other great young talents and guards in our league the opportunity (to play). I told you guys all the time I can’t describe or put into words how it feels to represent our national team in the international and world stage,” he said.
“It’s just different, our country and us Filipinos have deep-rooted passion for the game and you can’t describe that feeling until you put that jersey on. Once you do, you’re in for an experience that you will always remember throughout your career.”
As it is, Alapag also has a big decision to make as far as his PBA career is concerned, with his Talk 'N Text contract set to expire at the end of the season.
The 'Mighty Mouse' met with Talk 'N Text owner Manny V. Pangilinan and team coaches on Tuesday noon.
Alapag, who first played for the national team in 2007, refused to give out names who he feels could contribute to the Gilas cause especially in the 2015 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship that serves as the qualifier to the 2016 Rio De Jainero Olympics.
But he definitely gives a thumbs-up to the choice of Baldwin of trying to steer the team to new heights.
“I think it’s a great choice,” he said of Baldwin, the former coach of Jordan which he led to a runner-up finish in the 2011 Fiba-Asia tilt, and New Zealand, a team he steered to a semifinals finish during the 2002 Fiba World Cup in Indianapolis, USA.
“I’m excited. He’s a great coach, and an even better human being. I’m excited for Gilas 3.0, to see which new guys will be added to the pool, and who can put our national team in the best position to get that Olympic spot in August next year.”
And hopefully with him in Baldwin’s coaching staff.