IT takes a lot more than taunting to get Jimmy Alapag out of his game.
Jens Knuttel should know that by now after the rarely used Ginebra guard tried to get in the Talk ‘N Text star playmaker's head in their PBA Governors’ Cup game on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
A third-string point guard who made the Ginebra lineup just this conference, Knuttel made the most of his 13 minutes on the floor as he dished out five assists and scored two points for the Kings.
So pumped up was the rookie guard out of Far Eastern University that, with hand gestures, he dared the veteran Alapag to take him one-on-one during one play in the first quarter.
Alapag admitted he was surprised by Knuttel's antic.
“To be honest, it kinda caught me off guard. I didn’t really know how to react to it,” the 11-year veteran said. “But again, I’ve played in too many games and been in this league too long to get involved in the whole whatever you want to call that.”
Alapag, however, made it clear he didn’t lose his focus as he facilitated the Texters offense with aplomb in the fourth quarter, where the league-leaders turned the game around on the way to a 96-92 victory that knocked Ginebra out of the Top 4 picture.
“We really treated this game as a playoff game,” said Alapag, who had five assists, five points, and one steal in 25 minutes despite nursing a flu the past few days.
“It’s really important going to the playoffs considering the format of this particular tournament, to have this momentum. Coming off a big win against San Mig Coffee, we really wanted to keep the ball rolling.”
Now, the Texters start another playoff run, this time against an eight-seeded Barako Bull side that defeated them in the eliminations.
“We’re gonna have our hands full,” Alapag warned.