By jerome lagunzad
Jimmy Alapag is eager to open a new chapter in his basketball life.
The former Gilas Pilipinas team captain has been appointed by Alab Pilipinas as its new head coach yesterday, taking over the reins from Mac Cuan who will serve as one of his assistants in the next season of ASEAN Basketball League slated late this year.
The 5-foot-9 Alapag, 39, formally signed on the dotted line alongside Alab Pilipinas bosses, Dondon Monteverde and Charlie Dy, at the Virtual Playground office in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
The big development marks the latest challenge for Alapag, an accomplished cager – both in the pro ranks and in the international stage – who once served as TNT KaTropa team manager and an assistant coach for the Meralco Bolts.
“It has a new ring to it. Siyempre, it’s really an exciting opportunity. I’m just really thankful for Alab for bringing me on,” said the spitfire guard dubbed as “The Mighty Mouse,” a one-time PBA MVP winner and a six-time PBA champion who was also named to the pro league’s 40 Greatest Players.
Alapag admitted he will continue serving his national team duties as a deputy to Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes but will have to give up his coaching gig with the Bolts.
For sure, Alapag will have a tough work cut out for him as he will try to whip an Alab Pilipinas crew raring to surpass a semifinal finish during its debut campaign in the previous ABL season.
“Going into second season, our goal is to compete for the championship. Last year, they were really close to be in the Finals. Hopefully, this season, we’ll get there and bring the first championship for Alab,” said the former Cal State San Bernardino standout.