Alapag enjoying mentoring Meralco’s young guys as skills coach
Goodbye, captain. Hello, coach.
Even as he retired from playing basketball for good, Jimmy Alapag remains on the court. Only this time, he’s staying in the sidelines.
The 2011 Most Valuable Player is staying on as skills coach for Meralco, getting the opportunity to continue guiding the team–although on a different capacity—this upcoming season.
“Right now, he’s acting as a skills coach for us,” said coach Norman Black on the newest member of his staff. “He’s working individually with a lot of players on their offensive game and their shooting, which is an area we want to improve on this year. I think he will be a very big help for the team. Obviously, he has great leadership and he has the skill. It’s just a matter of sharing it to the players.”
For his part, Alapag is relishing his new role as a mentor after an illustrious career as a player, especially that he is tasked to help the team’s young backcourt improve their offensive game.
“Honestly, there’s not much difference,” he said. “The only difference is I’m not on the court doing drills with them. But at the same time, I feel like now, after spending my career going to the gym for two to three hours everyday to prepare myself and how I could help my team on the court, I feel I could channel that energy not on working on my game but focusing on the guys. That’s the fun part. I’m enjoying it and I’ve become the biggest fans of these guys.”
Alapag, who is mentoring guys like 2016 Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, and rookies Ed Daquioag and Jonathan Grey, said that the transition has been easy.
“I’m closer to the guys where I could share my experience for the last 13 years. It’s great to still be here with the guys, still have a voice, and make sure that what we built last season doesn’t go to waste.”
That is the challenge for the Alapag and Bolts this season—that they continue aspiring for greatness and to not be satisfied amid their breakthroughs, including a Finals stint, last season.
“I think that’s the next step for this team. The responsibility falls on New, Baser, Cliff (Hodge), Jared (Dillinger). Those guys will now carry this team to the next step of the process which is building consistency,” said Alapag. “We showed last season that we could get there when a lot of people thought we couldn’t. Now that we’re there, the tough part becomes how you consistently stay there.”
“The encouraging thing is the focus and maturity as a whole, you could see it. We get so much more done in practice. Guys get early and stay late, that’s what it’s about. That type of work ethic puts you in a position to be successful. At the end of the day, that’s all you want.”
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