Jimmy Alapag and other PBA legends in weird jerseys
Paul Kennedy Lintag on Mar 23, 2020 12:38 PM
(Photos by Josh Albelda, Richard Esguerra, Arvin Lim, and Nuki Sabio/PBA)
NFL living legend Tom Brady spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, going to nine Super Bowls and winning six of them.
With a journey like that, you'd think TB12 would be a lifelong Patriot.
Brady has signed with Tampa Bay, and will be Buc for at least through seasons 21 and 22.
Without a doubt, this will be one of those weird times like when Michael Jordan suited up in a Washington Wizards jersey.
Hakeem the Raptor was also a weird sight to see, same as Karl Malone the Laker. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice turning from 49er greats into a Chief and Raider, respectively were also surprising at the very least as well.
Players in weird jerseys can also be found in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Here are a few of them.
JIMMY ALAPAG - Meralco
The torch has since been passed to Jayson Castro, but for the longest time, Talk 'N Text was Jimmy Alapag and Jimmy Alapag was Talk 'N Text.
Jimmy won all his PBA championships as a player as a Phone Pal/Tropang Texter. All but one of TNT's PBA titles were won with Alapag running point.
Alapag's jersey number 3 is the only one retired by TNT.
And so when Jimmy decided to unretire and play in the PBA again in 2016, him donning a Meralco Bolts jersey was a sight to behold.
Alapag's comeback only did last one season before retiring a second time. He did help Meralco to its first-ever PBA Finals appearance, failing to just end his career with one last title.
Before he truly retired though, Jimmy set the new PBA record for most three-point field goals made, but he broke Allan Caidic's mark by wearing Meralco's orange, not TNT's blue.
JAMES YAP - Rain or Shine
James Yap was not only the face of the Purefoods franchise, he was the face of the PBA.
In 12 years, Yap won two Most Valuable Player awards, four Finals MVP awards, and seven PBA titles all with Purefoods.
Yap was there when the Purefoods Chunkee Giants won the 2006 Philippine Cup. Yap was there when the Tender Juicy Giants won the 2010 Philippine Cup Finals in a clean sweep.
Big Game James led the B-Meg Llamados to a seven-game classic to win the 2012 Commissioner's Cup. More importantly, James Yap was the leading man when the San Mig Coffee Mixers won four straight titles on their way to a Grand Slam in 2014.
The point is, James Yap was that guy for the Purefoods franchise for over a decade and multiple name changes.
He was that guy until he wasn't. Yap was traded to Rain or Shine for Paul Lee in a blockbuster trade in 2016.
James Yap as an Elasto Painter just has a weird look to it. And considering ROS has lost multiple playoff series to Magnolia, most recently a seven-game grind in the semifinals of the 2019 All-Filipino, it probably just makes it work for some loyalists.
JAY-JAY HELTERBRAND - Imus
Barangay Ginebra in the 2000s was all about the Fast and the Furious.
Jay-jay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa won the Gin Kings four championships in the 2000s, reviving the barangay after a period of slump.
Caguioa is still going for Ginebra, but Helterbrand finally retired as a 6-time champion and 1-time MVP after 17 years as a Gin King.
He returned with a Ginebra jersey in 2019, posting a triple-double for his old PBA team in a Manila Clasico legends game.
Helterbrand is still somehow still playing, signing with the MPBL's Imus Bandera.
DANNY ILDEFONSO - Meralco
Danny I is a former number 1 pick, two-time MVP, and five-time BPC.
He was the lead when San Miguel Beer revived its dynasty in the early 2000s. His dominance was unrivaled at that point, winning his five BPCs in succession to go along with his consecutive MVP awards.
Ildefonso went on to play 15 years as a member of the Beermen, winning championships in three different decades.
He even served as the first mentor of June Mar Fajardo, who would go on to become San Miguel's latest star center and is now arguably the PBA's greatest.
However, Danny I didn't end his career as a celebrated Beerman but instead played his final two seasons with Meralco, quietly retiring as a Bolt.
JUNE MAR FAJARDO - Petron
Unlike Danny I, June Mar Fajardo should be well on his way to become a San Miguel Beer lifer.
Technically, June Mar has played for only one franchise in the PBA where he's currently an eight-time champion, six-time MVP, and eight-time BPC winner.
But before Fajardo donned the classic San Miguel jersey, he was a Petron Blaze Booster. The sight of June Mar in a Petron jersey remains a quirkly little footnote in his ongoing legendary career.
May the Beermen never go back to wearing blue.
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