Jimmy Alapag has seen it all for a basketball player.
He’s won and lost titles, experience the game as a player and as an assistant coach, retired and even came out of it, and it’s that kind of immense experience that Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is wary of.
Cone on Thursday said Alapag is the defining component in the finals series between the Gin Kings and Meralco for the PBA Governors’ Cup title.
“The real x-factor here is Jimmy,” said Cone during the press conference for the finals series at PBA Café in Pasig. “There’s no secret here, the level of play elevated when he unretired and joined Meralco.”
“He’s the x-factor in the series.”
Alapag retired in January of 2015 but was reactivated as an assistant playing coach in August for the Bolts.
More than a year later, the legendary point guard is leading the charge for Meralco in its first finals appearance.
Cone said Alapag brings not only helps the team on the court, but also brings the attitude it takes to get to the next level.
“He knows how to win, he’s won in different levels, and he’s gonna teach these guys how to win,” said Cone.
For Alapag, a one-time MVP and six-time champion, Meralco’s trip to the finals is a product of their hardwork.
“This is something I’ve always envisioned for this Meralco team when I came out of retirement,” said Alapag. “Coming from 1-10 in the All-Fiipino Cup I thought it wasn’t gonna happen anytime soon.”
“We’ve done the work and put ourselves to go for the championship, and we have a tough challenge ahead of us so it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
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