Alapag takes coaching act to the States
The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag to explore the possibility of continuing his career in the United States.
The PBA and international great, who is also one of coach Leo Austria’s assistants at San Miguel, hopes to find opportunities in the United States, similar to what he experienced last year when he was part of the staff of the Sacramento Kings during the NBA Summer League.
“Now that I made this transition to coaching, I want to keep learning and keep going,” Alapag said last Saturday night during the 2OT podcast.
“Obviously, this pandemic has impacted everyone not just here in the Philippines but all over the world. And it’s created a lot of uncertainty. But you know my goal is to continue to take whatever opportunity is out there and continue to learn and grow as a coach.”
Alapag steered Alab Pilipinas to the Asean Basketball League title in his rookie year as coach two years ago when the team was powered by Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman. That championship also led to another opportunity to work as part of the San Miguel Beermen staff.
“I really didn’t get involved too much as far as the game plan, but again I just try to help and I know that’s kind of a general term. But I did the best I could for those guys,” Alapag said, referring to his role with the Beermen, who have won eight titles since 2014.
Alapag, who won six PBA championships in a career spent mostly with the TNT KaTropa franchise, got a big coaching break last year when he was invited by the Kings to join the Summer League coaching staff.
That was made possible by his connection with then Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac, who was Alapag’s colleague at the Fiba Players’ Commission a few years ago.
Alapag enjoyed the experience so much he’s been thinking about getting a crack at a similar role in the future.
“I am contemplating about a move to the US and to be completely honest, it is something that we’re seriously thinking about,” Alapag said.
“Again, with so much uncertainty around the world, here in our country, especially from a sports and basketball landscape, it’s something that we’re thinking about and I have reached out to my contacts from Sacramento and other people I know around the NBA and the G League to see what opportunities there might be. We don’t know yet, we don’t know what direction we’ll go, but the feedback that I’ve gotten has been very, very positive, so we’ll see.”
Alapag also hopes to link up with fellow Filipino-American coach Mike Magpayo, who coaches University of California-Riverside in NCAA Division 1.
“He’s blazing a trail for Filipinos at the collegiate level and hopefully one day I might be able to do the same at the pro level there,” Alapag added. INQ
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