Jimmy Alapag 'always open' to any Gilas coaching job

Nothing is imminent for Jimmy Alapag, but the former Gilas Pilipinas captain said he would always welcome the opportunity to work with the national team program.

"In terms of my role, I'm always open to serving the country," he said on Sunday in a webinar hosted by Hoop Coaches International and Blackwater team consultant Ariel Vanguardia when asked about possibly taking a job as an assistant coach with Gilas.

"And again, I'm just kind of taking a wait-and-see approach to see what the program will do moving forward, but obviously it would be a huge honor to be involved with the program considering I've been part of it," he added.

There's no indication whetherAlapag is considered by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for a spot in the sidelines, though the 2011 PBA MVP -- a champion head coach for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) and an assistant coach for the San Miguel Beermen -- could be a viable name.

"Obviously I feel like the program is in good hands with Coach Tab. It's really hard for me to comment because it's not my job to decide who will be the next Gilas coach," Alapag said.

Finding a full-time head coach to lead the Philippines and integrating a European-style of play before the country hosts the 2023 World Cup is one of the program's top priorities.

Assembling a fully-fledged pool that could immediately build some much-needed chemistry, however, is just as important, according to Alapag.

"I understand Coach Tab's perspective in terms of following the European brand of basketball in terms of the ball movement and the player movement. But at the same time, I also see that our style of play when we played against the best in the world back in 2014 (World Cup) was also effective," he said.

"I think in terms of the program moving forward, it's just gonna be important for us to really start to identify the players who could potentially be in that team in 2023 because as early as now, it's gonna be important for those guys to really build on that chemistry and camaraderie that they're gonna need come the World Cup in 2023."

Alapag pointed to the success of the Gilas teams that captured silver in the 2013 Asian Championships and gave the country its first win in 40 years during the World Cup proper a year later to reinforce his point.

"That was such a huge, huge part of our success as a team from 2013 to 2014 because you had veteran guys and pros who had championship experience and really, with our group, there was such a huge amount of respect that we had for each other throughout the years that we had gone and competed against each other," he said.

Talent-wise, Alapag thinks Gilas will do just fine come 2023.

"I think for the Gilas program now, that's gonna be one of the challenges: trying to find that chemistry and that camaraderie with the new generation of players," he said. "Obviously we have an incredible amount of talent in the country today, and we have talented Fil-Am players abroad. So this is gonna be a matter of identifying that and trying to put together some sort of pool of guys who could potentially be in that team."