VETERAN playmaker Jimmy Alapag has been placed on the reserve list by Talk ‘N Text to give him time to recover from a gruelling stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the just-concluded Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Despite being one of the shortest players in the world championships, the 5-9 Alapag averaged 9.2 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds for Gilas, which impressed in the tournament after losing by an average of less than four points against powerhouse squads like Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico in the group stage.
“It’s just to recuperate, pahinga lang,” Talk ‘N Text board governor and chairman Patrick 'Pato' Gregorio said during the press launch of the PBA’s 40th season on Tuesday at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
Gregorio said the set-up is similar to the break given by San Mig Super Coffee forward Marc Pingris.
“It’s just a few weeks for Jimmy to recover from (playing in the) World Cup and the Asian Games,” he said.
But unlike Pingris, who was given a three-week leave of absence by San Mig coach Tim Cone, Gregorio said they gave the 36-year-old Alapag the freedom to decide when to rejoin the Tropang Texters’ practice.
“It’s really up to Jimmy kung kelan niya gusto bumalik, but knowing Jimmy, baka two games lang eh naka-uniform na iyan,” he added.
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The 'Mighty Mouse' will be entering his 12th year in the pro league this season, though he is expected to get more help from the backcourt, with the possible inclusion of incoming rookie Kevin Alas.
Alapag, the 2011 PBA Most Valuable Player, is expected to serve as mentor to Alas, once the three-team trade involving sister team NLEX and expansion club Blackwater pushes through in the coming days.
“That’s (acquiring Alas from the trade) an open secret because the next generation of Jimmy Alapag is somebody like Kevin,” explained Gregorio. “But whether we can solve that (trade) puzzle now or delay, that we cannot answer. We all know sister teams can’t trade.”