JIMMY Alapag was a player who was all business on the floor during a memorable 12-year PBA career, rarely showing emotions even after the biggest of victories and the most heartbreaking defeats.
But the former Gilas Pilipinas captain couldn't help but turn emotional on Monday night during the Spin.ph Sportsman of the Year awards at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila as he looked back on what he termed as a 'great ride' in a career bound to be feted in the PBA Hall of Fame.
Alapag's former teammate, Asi Taulava, actually set the mood for the night, the 6-foot-9 behemoth choking up as he presented his good friend as Spin.ph's Sportsman of the Year for 2014.
Watch video of Asi Taulava's speech:
When it was finally Alapag's turn to speak, the recently retired Talk 'N Text guard struggled to keep his emotions in check, stopping in mid-sentence every so often to regain his composure and keep from crying.
But the beloved cage hero simply could no longer hold back the tears when it was time for him to thank the people who he said stood by his side along the way - pal Taulava, who he recalled took him into his home during his rookie year in the PBA in 2003; former Gilas coach Chot Reyes, who Alapag said helped shape him to be the 'player and the man that he is today;' and wife LJ Moreno and their two kids.
The crowd was naturally touched, most of all LJ Moreno who made sure she captured the moment for posterity with her own smart phone.
Thanks, Jimmy, for baring your heart. You and Asi and Chot made the evening truly memorable with your presence and, most of all, your sincerity. And yes, real men do cry.
Here now is the video of Jimmy Alapag's emotional speech. Hope you will be touched and inspired by it as we in the crowd were on this momentous Monday night.