Advertisements


Now they ve met, RK Ilagan knows he can t let down idol Jimmy Alapag

RK Ilagan is one of the best point guards in all of collegiate basketball. As San Sebastian College-Recoletos' lead guard in NCAA 95, he put up per game counts of 15.8 points, 4.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds while also posting a total of 48 threes. When asked to be part of an online learning session with legendary Jimmy Alapag, however, he actually doubted if he deserved to be there. "Sobrang nahihiya po talaga ako. Nagsabi pa nga ako kay kuya Mikee [Reyes] na parang ayoko kasi po, siyempre, UAAP players kasama ko dun," he shared. Ilagan, alongside Ateneo de Manila University's SJ Belangel, De La Salle University's Aljun Melecio, and Mapua University's Laurenz Victoria were the four collegiate stars who got to talk with Alapag last Monday through a Zoom meeting initiated by GOAT Academy. The fledgling program has organized several online learning sessions that aim to connect pros with collegiate stars and let the former enrich the minds of the latter. Humble as always, however, the Golden Stags' primetime playmaker thought he was yet to be on that level. Once he was conversing with his idol, though, all his fears were allayed. "Sobrang nakaka-amaze kasi sobrang down-to-earth ni Coach Jimmy. Sobrang excited ko nun kasi alam kong marami akong matututunan sa kanya," he said of his first-ever meeting with Alapag. For Ilagan, the big heart is what defines the six-time champion and one-time MVP in the PBA. As he put it, "Idol ko po si Coach Jimmy kasi nakita ko sa kanya yung competitiveness every game. Kahit maliit siya, gusto niyang i-prove na kaya niyang gawin kung ano yung mga nagagawa ng mga mas matangkad sa kanya." Interestingly enough, big heart, big game could also be used to describe Baste's star. With that, Ilagan is only ready and raring to keep following the footsteps of Alapag. "Sobrang nakaka-inspire po kasi yung makakuha ka ng advice galing sa legend katulad niya. Sino ba naman ako para hindi sundan yung ginawa niya para maging successful din," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 24th, 2020

Jason Brickman picked up leadership skills from former coach Jimmy Alapag

Having played for Alab in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), Brickman is going to the PBA 3x3 with a number of learnings — including what he had learned from decorated mentor Jimmy Alapag......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 25th, 2021

Advice to rookies

PBA legend Jimmy Alapag made a guest appearance on the East Asia Super League clubhouse chat app a few days ago and drew from his over 20 years of experience in basketball as a player then coach to offer sage advice to rookies entering the pro league this season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 22nd, 2021

Bolick dinalaw si Alapag sa LA

MULA nang magkaroon ng pandemya, mas pinili ng SMB assistant coach Jimmy Alapag na manirahan muna sa Los Angeles, California kasama ang kanyang mag-iina. The post Bolick dinalaw si Alapag sa LA first appeared on Abante......»»

Category: newsSource:  abanteRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2021

Cage body to Gilas cap – Our heartfelt thanks

he Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas paid tribute to Jimmy Alapag after the long-time Gilas Pilipinas team captain and his family decided to migrate to the United States for good......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 24th, 2020

SBP honors Alapag for contributions to Philippine basketball

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas paid tribute to Jimmy Alapag as the longtime Gilas Pilipinas captain moved to US for good to explore new opportunities......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2020

LJ Moreno, Jimmy Alapag napilitang mag-migrate sa US dahil sa COVID: It’s time for a new season

DAHIL sa matinding epekto ng COVID-19 pandemic sa kanilang pamilya, nagdesisyon na ang mag-asawang LJ Moreno at Jimmy Alapag na iwan na ang Pilipinas. Nag-migrate na sila sa Amerika kasama ang mga anak para doon muna manirahan at ipagpatuloy ang kanilang buhay habang patuloy ang pandemya. Sa latest YouTube vlog ng celebrity couple, nagbigay sila […] The post LJ Moreno, Jimmy Alapag napilitang mag-migrate sa US dahil sa COVID: It’s time for a new season appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 20th, 2020

LJ Moreno nakunan sa ika-4 sanang anak nila ni Jimmy Alapag: The baby stopped…

    NAKUNAN ang aktres na si LJ Moreno sa ikaapat sanang anak nila ni Jimmy Alapag. Ibinahagi ng mag-asawa sa kanilang latest vlog ang malungkot na balita ngayong araw matapos ang huling pagkonsulta nila sa doktor. Ayon kay Jimmy, nawala raw bigla ang heartbeat ng baby, “She actually had an appointment last week that would have been […] The post LJ Moreno nakunan sa ika-4 sanang anak nila ni Jimmy Alapag: The baby stopped… appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 10th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

Jimmy Alapag met Kobe, the Father in his last visit to Manila

Bryant made his mark as a great father to his four daughters, especially to his 13-year-old Gianna, who unfortunately perished along with him that fateful January morning......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Filipino cagers to remember Kobe Bryant on Mamba Day with webinar

Initiated by sportswear giant Nike, Filipino basketball icons Kiefer Ravena, Jimmy Alapag, Camille Clarin and Kat Tan will share their take on “Mamba Mentality” and Bryant's legacy with a webinar titled 'Mamba Mentality Live'......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 19th, 2020

Alapag: Bolick, Perez future stars

PBA legend Jimmy Alapag singled out NorthPort’s Robert Bolick and Terra Firma’s CJ Perez as players with a bright future in the pro league during The Philippine STAR sports talk show “Beyond The Game With The Dean,” adding that he’s a big fan of the young bucks who suited up for Gilas at the FIBA World Cup in China last year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 14th, 2020

PBA: 9 a.m Meralco workouts helped Baser bond with mentor Jimmy

Before he retired from the PBA for good, Jimmy Alapag spent one season with the Meralco Bolts. Jimmy was on the team when Meralco made its first-ever Finals appearance in the 2016 Governors' Cup. Also with the Bolts at that time was rookie Baser Amer and in that particular season, the former San Beda Red Lion became the understudy of Alapag at point guard. Despite only spending one season as teammates, Baser sure learned some valuable lessons from the PBA great. One lesson stood out. "Yung sipag," Amer said on 2OT. "Nung nag-Meralco ako, yung practice namin 1 [p.m.], dumarating ako 10 [a.m.] akala ko ako na una. Pagdating ko, parang may bola na nag-sshoot. Pagtingin ko, si Coach Jimmy na pala. Halos everyday yun, 9 a.m. nandoon na siya," he added. Alapag was 39 when he was a Meralco Bolt and yet, he was beating pretty much everyone to the gym. Young Baser immediately took notice and asked to join Alapag in his early workouts. Jimmy naturally obliged. "The following day talagang kinausap ko siya, kung pwede ba sumabay. 9 a.m. nasa Meralco na kami then practice 1 p.m. pa, so nagawa na namin dapat namin i-improve," Amer said of Alapag. "Tapos tinuturuan niya ako ng mga technique, paano gumamit ng pick-and-roll, paano ang timing sa three-points, ganun. Ang laking tulong sakin ni Coach Jimmy," Baser added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

2013 Gilas Pilipinas team truly a special family says LA Tenorio

Seven years ago today, Gilas Pilipinas scored arguably its most famous win in program history. In 2013, Gilas took down South Korea in the semifinals of the FIBA-Asia Championship, sending the Philippines all the way to the FIBA World Cup. Members of that fateful team became instant legends and more than the talent present, the incredible bond by that Gilas iteration proved to be one of their keys to incredible success. "That group was really special," guard LA Tenorio said. "The whole process of going to the World Cup was an experience in itself. We've gotten to know each other kahit magkaka-laban kami," LA added. Aside from Tenorio, members of the 2013 Gilas Pilipinas team, or Gilas 2.0, were Jimmy Alapag, Jeff Chan, Jayson Castro, Gary David, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Marcus Douthit, Larry Fonacier, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and Marc Pingris. For LA, that group turned into a family, and future Gilas teams can make a great example of them to achieve and even surpass what they did almost a decade ago. "I think if the next group would really want to go to the next level like the World Cup or the Olympics, the team really has to be special hindi lang sa basketball," Tenorio said. "The relationship outside basketball is really important. It wasn't just like being teammates, we really became a family," LA added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Gilas veterans show sympathy to Lebanese cage legend

  By JONAS TERRADO   Gilas Pilipinas veterans on Wednesday expressed their support to Lebanese basketball legend Fadi El-Khatib, whose country is reeling from a devastating blast that rocked the capital Beirut the other day. Former national team coach Chot Reyes and Gilas great Jimmy Alapag sent their messages to El-Khatib, who posted a message […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 6th, 2020

PBA: 'Perfect team' allowed Asi Taulava to dominate 2003 season

Asi Taulava is going strong heading into his 21st PBA season. The Ageless one is trying to become the first local player to play in the league for four separate decades. Taulava is one of the best players the PBA has ever seen and his banner year came in 2003 when Asi went full "The Rock" mode to dominate the league. In the 2003 season, Asi was the PBA's Most Valuable Player and was in the All-PBA 1st team and All-Defensive Team. In that year's All-Filipino, Taulava was the Best Player of the Conference and Finals MVP after leading the Talk 'N Text Phone Pals to their first championship. Even during one of the best single-season performances in the PBA, it was a "perfect team" that helped Asi stamp his class in 2003. "I had a perfect team," Taulava said on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. "My first 3-4 years, remember at the time Mobiline just bought the franchise from Pepsi. The franchise was moving through cultures. The MVP group came in and now we started getting pieces," he added. As Talk 'N Text built its team, the Phone Pals ended up surrounding Asi with veterans like Vic Pablo, Bong Ravena, Mark Telan, Patrick Fran, and Donbel Belano. Talk 'N Text also added rookies Harvey Carey and Jimmy Alapag via Draft. "The big piece was bringing in Vic Pablo from Shell. Then Bong Ravena, Patrick Fran... then we added Jimmy Alapag and Harvey Carey. Bringing those guys in plugged those holes that we had," Taulava said. "We couldn't believe Jimmy fell to 10th in that Draft," Taulava added as Alapag became the final pick of the first round in the 2003 Draft. Carey was the fourth selection. Coached by Joel Banal, the Phone Pals beat Tim Cone's Alaska Aces after five grueling games in the semifinals. In the Finals, Talk 'N Text overcame a 0-2 deficit to tame Chot Reyes' Coca-Cola Tigers in six for the title. "Coke was really good at the time, they had Rudy [Hatfield], Johnny [Abarrientos], Rafi [Reavis], they had all these guys that knew how to win and at the time, they were in the semis majority of the time. That team was built to win," Taulava said. "We just happened to catch them [off guard]. I think they thought the series was over when we went down 0-2, they never thought we would fight back. Everything just happened. Lucky for us everything fell into place, because it could have easily been a 4-0 sweep," Asi added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2020

RDO will have seamless transition as coach – Alapag

    BY JONAS TERRADO     Jimmy Alapag believes the transition from player to coach will be smooth for former teammate Ranidel de Ocampo when he starts his role as an assistant of TNT KaTropa. De Ocampo became part of the KaTropa coaching staff a couple of months after announcing his retirement, and Alapag […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

FIBA: Norwood puts up powerhouse group for his Asian All-Star team

After Jimmy Alapag, Gabe Norwood is the next Gilas Pilipinas legend to name his Asian All-Star team. [Related: FIBA: Coach Jimmy Alapag has 3 Gilas players in Asian All-Star team] But unlike Alapag, Norwood gave it a little twist and decided not to include any Filipino players on his team. On top of Gabe's lineup are Hamed Haddadi and Nikkah Bahrami, the power duo at the forefront of Iran's rise as a regional powerhouse. Lebanese star Fadi El Khatib also has a spot on Norwood's super team.         View this post on Instagram                   "If I could, I'd probably go with a straight #Gilas ???????? lineup but I'll change it in terms of not putting any Gilas members on," ???? @gnorwood5 . #FIBAAsiaCup A post shared by FIBA Asia Cup | Basketball (@fibaasiacup) on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:42am PDT "Definitely, Fadi and Nikkah are on there, hands down. Haddadi's on there," Norwood told the FIBA Asia Cup. Norwood's point guard spot belongs to Japan's Makoto Hiejima while Jordan's Zaid Abbas completes the five. "I was a fan of Hiejima. I think he's a really good player and somebody that I think is underrated in terms of in Asia," Gabe said. "One more, I'll go with Abbas from Jordan. I think he could still dunk from the free-throw line right now. I don't know how old he is but he's just a special talent," Norwood said.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2020

Point guards a 'natural' at coaching says Alapag

Point guards are already considered as the coaches on the floor, running their systems in order to try and pick up some wins. When they retire, some point guards end up being actual coaches, a progression that many see as simply natural. "I think for point guards, it might be a little bit more natural because when you're playing the position, you're really an extension of the coach. A lot of the responsibility, in terms of not only what you need to do for your personal performance, but you're always conscious on who do you need to get involved, who are we playing, what are the match-ups?" Jimmy Alapag said. Alapag, who now coaches San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas in the ABL, talked about his journey from the court to the sidelines on Coaches Unfiltered. "I think it helps with the transition a little bit, it's smoother because you're used to having a broad perspective of the game," Alapag added. While being a point guard helps in being a coach, it's not as easy as people may think it is. After all, a head coach is not just going to be concerned about his individual performance. He has to account for basically everything. "It's still different when you're coaching because now, not only are you concerned about your team, you're worried about your opponent and what they're doing, their tendencies," Alapag said. "I think that's the biggest challenge now as a coach," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2020

Early struggles as coach drove Alapag to prove doubters wrong

Jimmy Alapag has made quite a successful transition from being a player to a head coach. The proof is that his San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas won the ABL title his first year and the team has stayed as a regular championship contender since. However, while his first season as head coach ended up with a championship celebration, the start was pretty rough for Alapag. [Related: ABL Finals: Jimmy Alapag was destined to be a head coach] It was so rough that he heard the criticisms that he wasn't actually ready to coach yet. "For my first season in particular, it was a struggle," Alapag said on Coaches Unfiltered. "We're here in the Philippines and when I retired, there were still some people who felt that I should have continued playing. So you start to hear some of that that I wasn't ready to coach, I just wasn't fit for the position," Jimmy added. As a first-year coach, Alapag wanted to start off on the right foot. But Alab was had a 0-3 record early and had alosing record approaching their second month before rallying to get the no. 3 seed in the playoffs. Even then, they faced the defending champion Hong Kong Eastern in the semifinals and figured in a sudden death Game 5 against Mono Vampire in the Finals. It was quite the journey and it only proved that coaching is not as simple as it may seem, even for a champion point guard like Alapag. "I think when you're a first-year coach, I think you always kinda think about how you start your season. I think you're always hopeful that you'd get out to at least a decent start and get that monkey off your back early," Jimmy said. "But that just drove me to right the ship," he added of their early struggles. "And I was very fortunate to have a great staff with Alab. We just put our minds together."   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2020