THE urge was too hard to resist that Jimmy Alapag finally gave in.
The star playmaker admitted he had thought about coming out of retirement for nearly two months now. And with Meralco keeping the door open for him ever since he initially called it a career last January, it wasn’t long before making his comeback official.
“They’ve kind of kept it out there like, ‘Hey, if you ever change your mind, we’d love to have you at Meralco,’” Alapag said after Gilas Pilipinas’ practice on Monday night, referring to Bolts governor Al Panlilio and coach Norman Black.
“And a lot of things have happened in the past few months, from having to come back here and to help with the lack of bodies (at Gilas) and getting back here with the guys.”
Seven months was all it took for the former Talk ‘N Text mainstay to realize he wasn’t ready to turn his back on the game for good.
“I knew from the day I retired, I knew I was going to miss it,” Alapag admitted. “And it just so happened that now it’s with Meralco.”
That and the opportunity for his growing children to see him play was extra motivation.
They Said It!
“He's worth to be included again in Gilas as well as playing some more years for his team. A proven leader, and makes his teammates felt their importance of the rotation." - Fernando Elmar Jaco
“I have my two kids and my son is a big fan of the game and coming back and having the opportunity to have him in the games and see his dad play, I’ll make sure I’m ready,” the 37-year-old cager said. “That means a lot to me.”
“I don’t want my son and daughter to come to the game and say, ‘Hey, daddy, you don’t look too good out there.’ So while I have time, I’m going to do what I’ve done my entire career and get my body and get my mind right.”
The former league MVP clarified he didn’t request to be traded to the Bolts, whose backcourt depth has left much to be desired.
“It wasn’t that (request to be sent to Meralco). It just ended up working that way.”
And while Bolts fans cheered, their Tropang Texters counterparts were obviously saddened by his move to Meralco.
“That’s something that I expected when you spend your entire career with the franchise,” said Alapag, who played for 12 years with the flagship squad of the MVP group. “We had a lot of success.”
“It doesn’t change that,” he added. “A piece of my heart will always be Talk ‘N Text. That’s just the way it’s going to be. And I’ll always love the fans for everything that they did for myself and the team.”
“But at the same time, it’s a new challenge,” he continued, hoping to translate the same success with the Bolts this time. “I’m always up for a challenge.”
“Meralco’s been in the league for a while and they’ haven’t been to the finals yet, so it’s a big challenge,” Alapag said. “There is a lot of talent there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m excited about it.”