THE PBA season ended with a whimper for Jimmy Alapag that the Talk `N Text sentinel couldn’t wait for the new one to start.
Days after he and the rest of the Tropang Texters were bundled out of the PBA Governors' Cup, the player considered the heart and soul of the proud franchise vowed to come back with a bang in the Philippine Cup where the Texters will be vying for a fourth successive championship.
“It’s just important for us right now to pick ourselves up, rest, recover, and re-focus and shift our attention now to get ready for the All-Filipino,” the former league MVP disclosed to Spin.ph.
The Texters bagged a third consecutive Philippine Cup crown to start their campaign on a high note. But they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four years following a 110-102 loss to Barangay Ginebra in a sudden-death game for the last Governors' Cup quarterfinal berth.
Before that, the last time Talk `N Text failed to advance past the eliminations was in the 2009 Fiesta Conference, while its ninth place finish in the season-ending conference is the worst in franchise history, according to the league's chief statistician, Fidel Mangonon III.
“It’s a situation that we’re definitely not accustomed to at Talk `N Text,” said the 35-year-old Alapag of the team’s early exit.
The failure of the team to start the single-round eliminations on the right foot following the absence of four key players who suited up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship told heavily on the Texters’ campaign, according to Alapag.
“I think we kind of got up on the wrong foot, the lack of preparation that we had. We weren’t prepared as we would like to have been this conference,” he said.
“But by no means will I use that as an excuse. We have a lot of different circumstances going against us, and in the end, we fell short. It happens.”
At the same time, the Talk `N Text veteran point guard refused to cite the wear and tear on him and fellow national players Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, and Larry Fonacier as among the factors that led to the Texters’ early exit.
“I hate to use being tired as an excuse, it might have played a little part, but it should not be an excuse,” he stressed.
Alapag said he plans to get some time off from the game, but will immediately try to get back in shape to make up for the team’s disappointing showing in the season-ending conference.
“The most important thing is when you fall, you get back up. We will be back. We’ll definitely be back,” he said. “We’re the three-time defending champion and we want to make sure we hit the ground running come the All-Filipino.”
The league’s 39th season is set to start on November 17.