Jimmy Alapag gets tearful, plays last PBA game
PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines — Jimmy Alapag, one of the fiercest competitors the league has seen, couldn’t fight back his tears in an emotional jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday night.
The 37-year-old Alapag, who had already retired two months ago, made his 11th All-Star Game appearance before an electric crowd at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.
“It has always been my dream to be here, with these incredible people in this incredible league,” said a tearful Alapag, addressing the crowd. “As a basketball player you dedicate your life training and competing, and I’ve been blessed to do it the last 12 years.”
Alapag’s former Talk N’ Text teammates and coach Chot Reyes, who had a surprise appearance, spoke a few words about Alapag, who spent all of his career with the Texters.
Alapag’s wife LJ also turned emotional when asked to speak.
“I’m just really proud. Thank you for being not just a good basketball player but also a man in general,” LJ said.
Asi Taulava, whom Alapag won a championship with in his first year in the league, thanked Alapag for his friendship.
“Thank you for being a friend. All my career you’ve been there for me,” said the 42-year-old Taulava. “Thank you for what your done for Philippine basketball.”
Alapag averaged 12.4 points, 5.8 and 3.9 rebounds per game in his career that spans 12 seasons and over 550 games played. He is also second in the list of most 3-pointers made behind the sharp-shooting legend Allan Caidic.
Alapag entered the game at the 9:53 mark of the opening quarter and immediately drilled in a 3-pointer in his first attempt.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Alapag said in a television interview before the game. “All the fans here in Palawan they’re incredible. I can’t be happier to play my last game here in Palawan.” Celest Flores-Colina