BOTH handpicked by TNT in the first round of the 2003 PBA Draft, Jimmy Alapag and Harvey Carey became key pieces of the TNT franchise. They played together for thirteen years and six championships together (including the Phone Pals' first-ever), and the two sure had a bond like no other.
Soon after the Mighty Mouse found out that his friend was calling it a career, he had one request: that their 'jerseys be hung together.'
"From Day 1, you've been an incredible teammate, friend, mentor and brother to so many, and I'm thankful we had the chance to go to battle for 13 of those years," the 43-year-old retired guard said in an Instagram post.
Alapag, who is now based in the USA, looked back on a memory he shared with fellow Fil-Am Carey back in 2002 (even before they joined the PBA journey), and posted a full gallery of photos he's had with him through the years.
He said: "I didn't know at that moment God was slowly revealing his plan for the both of us. Today we celebrate an incredible 17 year run in the PBA. Proud of you my brother!"
More than a teammate, Alapag revealed they've been each other's confidantes, on and off the court. He's also been a witness to the modest leadership the soft-spoken veteran has always practiced his entire career.
"You've always been the consummate pro, with a no-nonsense work ethic, who quietly led by example, yet you had everyone's attention when you spoke. Til now I don't think you've gotten the recognition you deserve for your leadership, but I know you don't mind because it was always about the team and winning over everything else," coach Jimmy said of Carey.
He added: "I know my career path wouldn't have been the same without you my brother. You've established an amazing blueprint for young players today to strive to follow. Your legacy at TNT and in the PBA speaks for itself, just check the rings. Look forward to seeing your #4 retired at TNT so our jerseys can hang together, as it should be. Love you dawg!! Another one for the books..."
Last week, Carey paid his own little tribute to Alapag. In his most recent Instagram post, he uploaded a throback videoclip of one of their duo's iconic plays with the hashtag '#WaybackWednesday.'
The 6-foot-3 forward said: "@Jalapag3 always looked out for me. I was probably on the receiving end of half of his career assists."