JIMMY Alapag was left torn after Meralco clinched its first-ever PBA finals berth, but at the expense of his former team, TNT Katropa, after a series-clinching 94-88 decision in Game Four of the Governors’ Cup semifinals on Monday night.
“It's bittersweet to be honest,” the Bolts star playmaker admitted. “On one side, half of me is so proud of our guys, so proud of everyone from Meralco having waited six years and where we came from the first conference, you go one-and-ten, it's embarrassing and it humbles you.”
“Even for someone like myself who has been lucky enough to have a lot of success in the PBA and it's been a process for our team and that part of me is just proud of the guys and so excited for them,” he continued.
“We literally came from the bottom and put ourselves in a position to compete for the championship and that part of me is really, really proud of our guys at Meralco.”
But to do so, the Bolts had to topple a Texters team where Alapag played his first 12 seasons with.
“At the same time, the other side of me, it's tough,” the former league MVP said. “You don’t go to the wars we've been through with my guys at Talk ‘N Text and not forget that. Those memories that we have there, I'd be telling that to my kids ‘til they're 50 years old about what we did during my time there.”
Alapag didn’t knock down any three-pointers as he remained two triples shy of matching Allan Caidic’s record, but that hardly mattered as Meralco marched on to the finals for the first time since acquiring the Sta. Lucia franchise in 2010.
And they did it against the top-seeded Texters.
“They're a championship pedigree team and it's just tough,” Alapag said. “I love those guys over there, all the same guys that went to war together and did some amazing things. To have to face them in this type of series it's tough.”
“You wanna compete and fight just like you would when you're playing your brother."