HE underwent a rigorous training regimen that proved key to the Philippines’ rise to world basketball relevance, but Jimmy Alapag admitted it was nothing compared to how mixed martial artists prepare for fights.
The Gilas Pilpinas star was among the crowd in Pacific X-Treme Combat 46 on Saturday night at the Ynares Arena in Pasig and witnessed the fruition of MMA fighters’ preparation.
“I know the (MMA) training is completely different than basketball — what they have to go through might be even tougher,” Alapag said in a chat with Spin.ph during a lull in the action-packed event.
The Filipino-American cager, who lives in the area, enjoyed the affair with Talk ‘N Text teammates Jay Washington, Danny Seigle, and Harvey Carey, and Alaska Ace Erik Menk.
“It’s awesome. It’s great to support local fighters here,” Alapag said, although he didn’t support anyone in particular. “As a fellow Filipino athlete, I’m just here to support the guys.”
Twelve Pinoys saw action in the nine-fight card, which marked the 13th time one of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA outfits held a show in the country.
A fixture at MMA cards, Alapag said he has been a “big MMA fan for quite some time.”
“I grew up with my dad watching old Bruce Lee movies as a kid,” he recalled.
Being a fan is all he will ever be in the world’s fastest-growing sport.
“I’m strictly a fan. And I’ll keep myself outside the cage,” the 36-year-old Alapag said.
Coming out on Saturday night was also a way for the 11-year PBA veteran to unwind during the start of another long season.
“It’s important to try to find any time away from the court, especially for me nowadays having a family; you don’t get much free time,” said Alapag, who adopted a two-year-old boy last year and wife LJ is expecting a girl any time soon.