With the PBA season’s start just around the corner, there’s plenty of anticipation to see how the new-look Meralco Bolts perform with so many new faces in their squad. One man in particular will be receiving extra attention – six-time champion and former MVP, Jimmy Alapag, who recently came out of retirement after 12 years with Talk N’ Text to restart his career with the Bolts.
In this exclusive interview with OneMeralcoSports.com, the highly revered PBA standout sheds light on the reasons behind his return to competitive basketball, how he’s adjusting to his new team, and what is motivating him in this new chapter in his career.
There was quite a bit of surprise when the news broke of your coming out of retirement, how did that decision come about?
“Well what really got the ball rolling was everything that happened with Gilas. When the shortage of players became an issue, I started joining practice, and obviously practice was here (Meralco Gym). I got a chance to talk to coach Norman [Black] when he was helping out with the team and we kind of talked about the possibility of me trying to come back. And the longer I was out here during practice, the possibility became more and more realistic. And it was something, to be honest, that I was really excited about. Coming here to Meralco, I felt, was a new challenge, a new opportunity, and one more chance for my kids to see me play. My son’s three, my daughter is going to be one in December, so to have a chance to see their dad play one more time – all that put together, made the decision pretty easy.
How have you found the initial transition with your new teammates?
“It’s been great. The guys are here working – working hard. And everyone here understands the big picture, and where we’re trying to go, and that’s to compete for a championship. The only way you do that is by working hard everyday, and pushing each other in practice. We have a great group of guys, and like I said, I’m excited to be a part of this process with them. And being around these young guys hopefully makes me a little younger. But yeah, I’m really looking forward to the season.”
What was the experience like sitting on the sidelines during your short retirement?
Naturally, if you’re a competitive person, that fire will always burn. The last five or six months I wasn’t playing, it was definitely there. And being the manager for Talk N’ Text, and seeing them in the finals, I would’ve loved to have been there with them. But then again, now that I am here, again I’m just looking at this experience as a new challenge and a new opportunity here with Meralco. My only goal is to help put this team in a position to win and hopefully compete for a championship.