THEY'VE had fierce clashes in the playoffs, each one having his moment at the expense of the other in a Barangay Ginebra-Talk 'N Text semifinal series that is back to square one after two games.
Now, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, and Jason Castro will be on the same side for a change.
As the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs take a one-week break, the three point guards will turn teammates under the Gilas Pilipinas banner when the pro league holds its annual All-Star festivities.
The irony is not lost on Castro, who nonetheless said the three of them are professional enough to give fans a treat in the All-Star game before turning enemies once again when the playoffs resume on May 8.
"Ka-team namin si LA (sa Gilas) pero okay lang. Professional naman tayo eh," said Castro. "Laro-laro lang para din sa mga fans syempre, yun naman ang number one reason ng All-Star eh."
The All-Star break would have been a perfect time to rest and soothe aching bodies for the remaining playoff contenders. But instead it will be a busy week in Digos City for Tenorio, Ginebra rookie Chris Ellis and five Talk 'N Text players in Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, Alapag, and Castro.
Ellis is listed to compete in the slam-dunk while Mark Caguioa, who was voted to the PBA selection that will face Gilas on May 5, is a doubtful starter as he still to suit up for Ginebra since suffering an MCL sprain.
Alapag said: “It'll be tough. But were not the only guys who'll play. There's LA (Tenorio). We'll all try our best to manage our job on the All-Star weekend before we shoot our focus back to the semifinals."
The players are also not complaining, saying playing for the national team in the All-Stars is both a privilege and a responsibility.
"For all of us playing for Gilas, it’s an absolute honor and huge blessing to represent the country," said Alapag. "It's a part of our responsibility for the country."
Both the Gilas players and PBA All-Stars face a hectic week of appearances, practices, and games in Digos City. The following day, the Nationals leave for Manila and play the visiting Shanghai Sharks later in the night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"PBA fans are the best in the world. We want to show our appreciation to them and we want them to know that we really are working hard for August (for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship)," said Alapag.
De Ocampo, whose booming triple in the final 33.7 seconds proved to be the clincher in the Texters' Game Two win, said it’s up to them how to manage their time during the May 1-6 All-Star spectacle.
"Kasi busy naman kami doon maghapon, may mga guesting, may program, kaya nasa amin lang `yun kung paano mag-adjust para ganoon pa din performance namin para sa next game," said de Ocampo.