JIMMY Alapag admitted his decision to retire had a lot to do with the wear and tear of playing for Talk ‘N Text and Gilas Pilipinas over the last five years.
The 5-7 Alapag, who began his PBA career in 2003 as Talk ‘N Text’s 10th overall pick, has played in three Fiba Asia men’s championships dating back to 2007 in Tokushima, Japan.
The Fiba-Asia cage joust, he felt, required a high-level of physical conditioning since the stakes are much higher.
“The last four or five years have been pretty tough from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint,” Alapag told sports scribes during the brief press conference on Friday, just before the start of Game Two of the Alaska-San Miguel PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
“We all know the standard and expectation of Talk ‘N Text. And considering the success we’ve had and at the same time, playing for the national team, it means so much not just to myself, management and personal family, but to all of us,” added the one-time PBA MVP, who owns Fiba-Asia career averages of 10.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds.
“When you play for Gilas, all lines are wiped away. It’s our team. So being blessed to have a lot of success with Talk ‘N Text through the years and having to turn around to play for Gilas, it’s been tough,” said the 'Mighty Mouse,' who was accompanied by his parents Crispin and Aurora Alapag.
“So did it (playing for Talk ‘N Text and Gilas) maybe shorten my career a little bit? Possibly. But I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
The former PBA MVP said his decision to retire didn’t happen overnight, saying he has been contemplating hanging up his jersey for the past year.
“I’ve been talking to management almost the past year, having open communication with them as far as what my future plans are,” he recalled.
“For me it’s time (to retire). Every player, sooner or later has to see the end of the road. I don’t think you’ll ever really know when that day will come because I think for everybody, it’s different. But for me, the time is now,” said Alapag, a two-time Finals MVP and one-time Best Player of the Conference awardee.
However, Alapag said he intends to provide the same leadership in his new role as Tak 'N Text team manager, along with being appointed as an assistant coach for Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin.
“To be given the rare opportunity to now transition right away to a new position as team manager (of Talk ‘N Text) and also as assistant coach to coach Tab at Gilas, it gives me the opportunity to stay connected to the game,” he said.
“This announcement would be much more difficult if I was completely disconnected to the game after saying goodbye, but knowing I can still have an impact in the game, and still have an impact on Talk ‘N Text and Gilas team, I’m excited with the opportunity and the challenge it represents.”
Alapag capped his colorful stint with the national team by scoring 18 points, spiked by three triples, four rebounds and four assists to lead Gilas to an 81-79 overtime win over Senegal in the Fiba World Cup in Spain last year.
The victory marked the Philippines’ first victory in the world championships in 40 years.