Jimmy Alapag's young coaching career has just gotten a boost after interim Gilas coach Tim Cone tapped him to be an assistant at the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in December.
"Always an honor representing the country," Alapag said. "I've been a part of the program for a long while ... It's always special to play here at home. Looking forward to it."
Cone wanted Alapag's experience coaching in the Asean Basketball League, where he faced some of the opponents Gilas will play at the SEA Games.
This stint is just Alapag's latest foray into the world of coaching. The current San Miguel assistant has already picked the brains of Chot Reyes and Tab Baldwin in Gilas Pilipinas, worked alongside Norman Black in Meralco, and coached under Jong Uichico during the Gilas cadets' gold medal run in the 2017 SEA Games.
"Whether you are a player or as a coach, the learning process continues. I've been fortunate through out my career -- as a player and even coaching -- to be around some of the best minds in our country," Alapag said. "To have this opportunity with Coach Tim for the first time, he's one of the greatest coaches to ever coach in the Philippines, so I'm looking to forward to the opportunity to work with him."
Alapag, whom Cone said requested to join his staff for the tournament, will work with Ginebra forward Joe Devance -- who is recovering from a surgery on his right foot.
"Even with Joe, we've competed against each other for so long and for him to get a little taste in coaching, a little head start, it's gonna be fun," Alapag said.
Aside from a reunion with Uichico, Alapag will be linking up once more with LA Tenorio and Jayson Castro. The trio notably formed a vaunted backcourt with the national team during Gilas' 2013 FIBA Asia Championship run and its 2014 World Cup appearance.
Gilas Pilipinas will shoot for its 18th gold medal in the regional meet, and Alapag thinks the chances of that happening are boosted by the presence of established names in a loaded 15-man pool.
"A lot of talent. A lot of veteran leadership. Guys who've been through their share of battles. But again, it's limited time in terms of preparations so again whenever coach Tim and the staff need help, I'm there," he said.