Philippines' guard Jimmy Alapag gets ready to shoot a basket during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships Group B match vs Greece. Photo by Pierre-Philippe Marcou, Agence France-Presse
SEVILLE, Spain -- Gilas Pilipinas team captain Jimmy Alapag knows how much it means for the Filipino fans to see them duke it out against bigger and stronger teams here at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Which is why, he said, they have been going all out in every game they've played at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes San Pablo.
"Our country loves the game so much and now that that we're here at the world stage, for so long we want to go out there and play with the type of heart and type of fight that will make everyone back home in the Philippines proud," the "Mighty Mouse," who is serving his last tour of duty for the Philippine team, said.
Alapag was the scourge of Argentina last Monday as he buried five of seven attempts from the three-point area to bring the Philippines to within a point at the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.
Gilas would have won if not for Andres Nocioni's free throw shots.
"We know they're supporting us, we know that everybody's praying for us and they inspire us to go out there and fight," said Alapag. "We want to make sure that they're proud of their national team when they see us here in the world stage."
For Alapag, it has been a wonderful journey for him to become part of the national team, as he recalled how far they have come since he first represented the country in international tournaments.
"Going back to 2002, playing for Selecta and getting hurt before the Asian Games, we fast-forward 12 years later and here we are the world championships," said Alapag.
"I wouldn't trade my experience with the national team for anything."