IT’S still Meralco’s recent past that has been motivating the present play of Jimmy Alapag in the Commissioner’s Cup.
While Bolts coach Norman Black refuses to dwell on his team’s embarrassing showing in the Philippine Cup where they finished dead last after winning just one of their 10 games, Alapag kept the debacle in mind as he put up a vintage showing in the Bolts’ 107-101 win over Alaska on Friday night.
“I keep thinking about last conference,” Alapag admitted. “When you struggle like that, when you're humbled like that, there's nothing you can do but to come back and re-focus and get back to work.”
“It's a credit to the coaching staff, coming back this conference with a better focus and push each other in practice,” he added.
Alapag fired 16 points in 20 minutes as he saved his best for last, scoring all but two of his team’s last nine points in the last two minutes and nine seconds of the game.
“It felt good to come through for the team,” the former MVP said. “Tonight, our team grew up a little bit more. We're still in a process of developing a culture where the team gets used to winning, and that takes time.”
“Unfortunately, you have to go through things like last conference but you learn,” he added. “But the great thing about the PBA is you get another opportunity. I'm just happy that I was able to make some plays down the stretch to get us a big win.”
After finishing last in the all-Filipino conference, the Bolts have a chance to be No. 1 at the end of the elimination round, already assured of a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
“But there's still more to do,” Alapag said. “I told the guys after the game that the journey isn't done yet.”