MANILA, Philippines – PBA legend Jimmy Alapag is all business in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals, which pits his former team, TNT KaTropa, against his current one in San Miguel Beer.
Alapag spent 12 seasons with TNT, a glittering career that saw him win six championships as a player and another one as a team manager. He briefly played for Meralco in the 2015-16 season, before focusing on his career as a coach.
He was tapped by San Miguel Beer as an assistant coach this year, and now finds himself having to help game-plan against the team that he played for the bulk of his career.
"It's business," said Alapag of their finals series with TNT. "You know, there's a job to be done."
"My time Talk ’N Text, for the 12-and-a-half years that I was there, doesn’t change. You don’t take away the six championships we won, you don’t take away the memories that we built there," he added.
"But you know, life goes on," he also said.
Alapag stressed that his focus is now on San Miguel, which reached the finals of the Commissioner's Cup as the seventh seed. The Beermen needed to overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against NorthPort in the quarterfinals, then defeated Rain or Shine in four games in the semis.
The KaTropa are another challenge entirely. Alapag noted that TNT, anchored by Jayson Castro and import Terrence Jones, has been on a roll throughout the conference. They ran roughshod over San Miguel in Game 1 last Sunday, 109-96.
"Talk 'N Text has been great the entire conference, and they were great again tonight. They’ve got an incredible import. You know, Jayson’s doing a great job leading those guys," said Alapag.
"So again, they’ve been playing well the entire conference. So we’ll make adjustments and be better on Wednesday," he added.
San Miguel only had one day to prepare for TNT after wrapping up their semis series against Rain or Shine, and they paid for it dearly. They had no answer for Jones, who had 41 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, and also struggled to contain Castro (20 points).
With two days between Games 1 and 2, Alapag is optimistic that the Beermen can make the necessary changes.
"You know, we have to adjust. You know, kahit sinong natalo, yung first game, it’s up to that team to go on and make adjustments. We have two games to prepare for Game 2 and we just have to be much better than we were tonight," he said.
Game 2 is on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
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