Alapag hoping for the best for ABL

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2020 03:39 PM

Alapag hoping for the best for ABL 1

MANILA, Philippines -- Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag is simply hoping for the best as far as the future of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) is concerned.

This, after the league's 10th season -- a milestone year for the ABL -- was cancelled in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its statement, the league said there was "no safe way" to hold the games.

At the time of the cancellation, Alab was second in the standings with a 10-6 win-loss record.

Over a month since games were officially cancelled, Alapag admitted that he has yet to receive any updates regarding what will happen to the ABL.

"But I know there's a lot of hurdles in the future for the league," Alapag said in an appearance on the "2OT" podcast.

"I share the same sentiments with everyone," he added. "(I'm) hoping that the league can find a way to continue, but the impact of this pandemic and what is done in terms of travel, especially in the neighboring Southeast Asian countries -- it really provides a lot of hurdles for the league."

There were reports in July that the ABL was on the verge of closing shop, but the league made it clear that it plans to return in 2021. 

"We are determined to find a way forward and return to the courts bigger and better alongside all our teams, commercial partners and fans," the ABL said in a statement.

Alapag noted that the PBA is also encountering trouble in trying to resume the All-Filipino Cup. 

All of the league's activities were put on hold last March because of the health crisis, and it was not until July that they received approval from the government to resume small-group training sessions. And yet, teams only began practicing again in August, after the government tightened quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

The ABL, Alapag noted, will have more hurdles than the PBA because of the nature of the league. Teams play in a home-and-away format, requiring constant travel. With countries restricting air travel because of the pandemic, it is difficult to see how the ABL can continue to follow its traditional format.

"It's an incredible league, a league that I'm so thankful to be a part of," said Alapag, who led Alab Pilipinas to the championship in 2018, when they had Ray Parks Jr., Justin Brownlee, and Renaldo Balkman in their roster.

"I'm just really hoping for the best for both the ABL and PBA, because I know how much we enjoy being part of the league, and how much fans miss the game itself," he added. "I'm praying for everyone involved in both leagues that we get the game back soon."