AS early as last year, Alab Pilipinas team manager Charlie Dy has been wooing Jimmy Alapag to become the coach of the Philippines’ representative to the Asean Basketball League.

Jim Alapag
Photo from the official Facebook page of Alab Pilipinas

But Mr. Alapag has to fulfill his commitment with the Meralco Bolts first and Mr. Dy had to wait until the next season before finally securing his services.

“We’ve been trying to get him as early as last season, but he’s still under contract, so we couldn’t get him on board,” added Mr. Dy.

Mr. Alapag wrapped up his PBA season, emerging as the all-time leader of three-point shots made. He is now a member of the Bolts’ coaching staff while also serving as deputy of coach Chot Reyes in the Gilas Pilipinas team, which is currently playing in the ongoing FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.

The Mighty Mouse’s appointment as head coach of the Alab Pilipinas team, a squad which was reinforced by Ray Parks and later on, Kiefer Ravena, was made official Saturday, giving the former Most Valuable Player a chance to rebuild a team.

Mr. Alapag, himself, is going to embark on a new challenge in his PBA career, but Norman Black and Alex Compton, who worked with the 5-foot-9 guard in different capacities, believe the future PBA Hall of Famer will be up to the task.

“I think he’ll be up to task. Jimmy is a smart player and I think he could be a smart coach as well. We’ve been talking basketball almost everyday. He told me about this during one of our conversations. Jimmy is dedicated person, he has great work ethics and he’s got the leadership qualities. I think he’ll do good coaching,” added Mr. Black.

Messrs. Black and Alapag won a PBA championship together in 2012 with the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters and the multi-titled mentor believes the young coach could bring his winning ways to his new club.

Like Mr. Black, Mr. Compton sees Mr. Alapag as a valuable addition to Alab Pilipinas.

“I think Jimmy Alapag’s appointment as head coach of Alab Pilipinas is logical in the sense that he could bring a lot of things to the team. He’s got great leadership qualities. He’s one of the finest leaders ever to play basketball. He’s got great work ethics. I’ve been with him in Gilas Pilipinas in 2015 and I’ve seen how he inspired the other players during the team’s workouts. Aside from that, he has the reputation for winning. Jimmy is a winner,” said Mr. Compton.

“Jimmy has gone full circle. As a player, you’ll start learning being an assistant coach and from an assistant coach, you’ll start learning being a head coach. We’ve seen coaches like Tim Cone winning with his triangle offense, we’ve seen coach Chot Reyes having success with his dribble drive. We’ve seen coaches like Norman Black, Jong Uichico and Yeng Guiao having success with their own system. But whatever system Jimmy is going to run, I do believe that he’s going to have success based on the qualities he could bring to his new squad — his leadership, his great work ethics and the inspiration he could instill in his new squad,” added Mr. Compton. — Rey Joble