San Miguel has added PBA legend Jimmy Alapag to its coaching staff ahead of the 2019 season.
Alapag, who is head coach of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League, said his appointment as Beermen assistant coach is a new chapter in his coaching career.
"I'm just thankful for the opportunity to be here (with San Miguel). My history with Talk 'N Text was my history there. I'm thankful we had a lot of success when I was there but now it's a new chapter and a new opportunity. So I'm looking forward to it," Alapag told reporters after joining the Beermen's practice for the first time on Thursday at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City.
Alapag won six PBA championships during his distinguished 13-year career. Before retiring for good in 2016, Alapag led Meralco to its first-ever Finals appearance in franchise history before eventually losing to Barangay Ginebra in the Governors' Cup championship series.
However, Alapag said his role remains unclear for the Beermen at this point. But he intends to learn as much as he can from his colleagues.
"I don't think my role is clearly defined as of yet, but it's a chance to learn a great deal from coach Leo and the staff," shared Alapag. "It's a chance to work a lot with some of the best players in the PBA today, guys who I played against and guys who I played with."
Austria admitted he is excited to have the former PBA star player-turned-coach come on board for the Beermen.
"This is his first day, but if you look at his spirit as a coach, he has something to offer to us and anybody who joins the team is always welcome. We welcome with open arms," he said.
During Alapag's introduction to the team, San Miguel team governor Robert Non revealed he already set his eyes on selecting Alapag in the 2003 PBA Rookie Draft, but TNT beat San Miguel by tapping the sweet-shooting playmaker as its 10th overall pick.
"We actually hid him when he was found by coach Ron Jacob. But the problem was somebody scouted him during one of the practices and then he was drafted by Talk 'N Text," recalled Non. "So now, we got him, and he'll be one of the assistant coaches of Coach Leo. I'm sure he'll be of great help to us just like our other assistant coaches, who made it possible for us to win championships."
ESPN5's Lyn Olavario contributed to this report.