JIMMY Alapag is convinced the Gilas Pilipinas basketball program stands to benefit from the wide coaching experience of Norman Black, Jong Uichico and Talk ‘N Text team consultant Tab Baldwin - three coaches who get mentioned in the midst of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) search for a new basketball coach.
The 5-7 Alapag said the three are a good fit for the international game, given the track record of Black and Uichico as champion coaches in the PBA, as well as their recent involvement with Gilas Pilipinas since last year.
“When you talk about coach Norman and coach Jong, you talk about two Hall of Fame PBA coaches who both have international experience and been involved with the Gilas program,” Alapag told a handful of reporters after helping Talk ‘N Text beat Meralco, 80-72 in a battle of sister teams on Tuesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“Same with coach Tab. You look at his resume, he’s coached in the Olympics, he’s coached in the world championship, so I think all three guys are obviously very capable of being the head coach, but until the SBP and the PBA really decide, we just have to wait and see what they come up with,” he added.
Alapag played his final two international stints for Gilas during the Fiba World Cup in Spain, where, despite being the shortest player in the tournament, he averaged 9.2 points and 3.2 assists.
He scored a team-high 18 points to lead Gilas to an 81-79 overtime win over Senegal in the team’s last game in the group stage - the country's first victory in the world championships since the 1974 edition in Puerto Rico.
The 'Mighty Mouse,' who turns 37 next month, hopes he could still be of help to the soon-to-be-revamped Gilas squad.
“I do want to be involved in whatever capacity (at Gilas). I just want to help. I know the feeling of wearing the national colors,” shared the sweet-shooting Talk ‘N Text playmaker.
“It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe unless you put the jersey on, and then, you really get a better understanding of the love and passion for the game. But I’m gonna miss it (playing for Gilas),” he added.
Alapag, however, is confident that the PBA has more than enough young talent to pick up where the last Gilas batch has left off.
“Again, moving forward, with some of the new young talent we have in the country today, I’m excited to see what transpires next, who's gonna be the next coach and who's gonna be the guys for Gilas 3.0. Whatever I can do to help, I’m here.”