Coach Jimmy finding his balance a big key to Alab's Finals run
Paul Lintag on Apr 19, 2018 03:24 PM
As the season went on, head coach Jimmy Alapag slowly figured out how to balance his team, creating a rotation where all the needed players are on the floor at specific times.
San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas' turnaround in the ABL season can be mostly attributed to the arrival of imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman.
However, those two can't win all the games for Alab.
That's why as the season went on, head coach Jimmy Alapag slowly figured out how to balance his team, creating a rotation where all the needed players are on the floor at specific times.
Now, Alab's fire is still burning and the team has the chance to be the first Philippine team to win the ABL title in five years.
"As a player, confidence is such a valuable part of playing in this game and that’s one thing that I wanna make sure I encourage my guys that I told them, as we progress in the season, we will need everybody," Alapag said, talking about his improved rotation after advancing to the ABL Finals.
"Even guys who early on, weren’t getting minutes. Like Pamboy (Raymundo), like Pao (Javelona), but again, we had some injuries. Josh (Urbiztondo) is still banged up, Rico (Maierhofer) is still out, we’re hopeful he’ll be back in the Finals. It’s a credit to these guys’ work ethic. Whether they’re playing, or they’re not playing, they come in every day, work hard, put in the time and the effort. It wasn’t surprising to see them come off the bench and ready to contribute," he added.
But while Alab's local guys have started to get their groove on, Alapag acknowledges that his two outstanding imports have done their part in helping install a winning attitude to the team.
And coach Jimmy is thankful.
"If you guys remember back in the season, we were dead last. These guys [Brownlee and Balkman] showed up off the plane and got a big win against Malaysia. It really just kind of set us off. It just seemed like the whole environment of our team changed when you bring in two quality imports who are not just again good players, that’s the obvious part, but great people," Alapag said.
"Being able to have the opportunity to go up against Balk and Jus, both with Gilas and my last year playing. To be finally on the same side with them, it’s been huge. I couldn’t be more thankful to having both the locals and Justin and Balk," he added.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8