When Jimmy Alapag was offered the head coaching post for ASEAN Basketball League team Alab Pilipinas, he made sure to consult with the people he trusted before making a decision.
And one of the people he sought advice from was Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black, the coach that had helped him transition into the world of coaching.
“Jimmy talked to me about it a month and a half ago about the possibility of it happening,” disclosed Black after Meralco’s 94-100 loss to NLEX, Sunday night.
Though the 59-year-old tactician would lose a member of his staff if Alapag accepted the job, the eight-time PBA champion coach was willing to let him go, as an opportunity like this does not come every day.
“I told him that if he had the opportunity to be a head coach and run his own team, he should take it,” Black added. “If he wanted to stay here in Meralco, he could do that also. But obviously, it’s going to be hard since they travel.
“They play so many games outside the country so he needed to choose just one job.”
Last Saturday, Alapag was formally announced as the head coach of Alab, ending his stay with Meralco after this conference. And Black knows that his former player and colleague has what it takes to be an excellent head coach.
“I think he’ll be good. You can never tell if you’re going to be a good coach unless you start coaching,” Black said. “There’s no real recipe on how to be a good coach.
“Jimmy certainly has the attributes: he’s hard working, he’s dedicated, very loyal, and loves to win.
“I’m sure he will be out there teaching his players on the system that he wants to run. So, I expect him to be a good coach,” added Black.
To conclude, the third-year Meralco mentor is thankful to have worked with Alapag and for helping change the culture of the seven-year old franchise.
“He has been a big help with the Meralco team. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor
The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.
Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.
The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.
Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.
For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.
Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.
Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.
Ray Parks, Josh Urbiztondo torch Mono, lead Alab to bounce back win
Coming off a frustrating home loss to the Singapore Slingers last Wednesday, skipper Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and Tanduay Alab Pilipinas vented their ire with a huge statement win at the expense of the streaking Mono Vampire Basketball Club, 114-87, Sunday evening at Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The win lifted Alab’s slate to an even 4-4, a full game behind the fourth-running Saigon Heat. Moreover, Alab was able to snap Mono’s three game winning streak.
After scoring 16 points in their 80-90 loss to the Slingers, Parks, Jr. was able to follow it up with a sensational 19 point outing. The reigning Local Most Valuable Player added seven rebounds, six assists, and a block to his statline.
The second generation cager provided the spark in the opening frame, scoring 10 points in the opening frame to give the road team a strong start.
Josh Urbiztondo followed it up in the second frame, dropping nine points in the second quarter. He finished the game with 17 markers, spiked by five triples.
Alab never looked back, leading by as much as 33 points, 104-71, after a Justin Brownlee bucket with 6:58 left.
Brownlee flirted with a triple-double, tallying a game-high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds and nine assists. Fellow World Import Renaldo Balkman had an efficent outing with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and five assists in just 23 minutes of game time.
As a team, Alab knocked down 14 triples with the troika of Parks, Urbiztondo, and Brownlee combining for 11.
Filipino export Paul Zamar paced Mono with 20 points on 6-for-11 shooting. The same could not be said for Filipino-American Jason Brickman, as he played his worst outing so far, ending the game with just seven points and a personal-low of three assists.
Former Mighty Sports-Philippines player Mike Singletary had 24 points on 22 attempts and 11 rebounds.
Alab will visit Indonesia for the first time this season on Saturday, January 20, to take on the CLS Knights.
Tanduay Alab 114 — Brownlee 29, Parks 19, Urbiztondo 17, Balkman 14, Raymundo 10, Maierhofer 7, Javelona 6, Alabanza 4, Domingo 4, Celiz 2, Hontiveros 2, Sumalinog 0.
Mono 87 — Singletary 24, Zamar 20, Deguara 17, Brickman 7, Boonyai 5, Ananti 4, Chanthachon 3, Apiromvilaichai 2, Khukhandhin 2, Phuangla 2, Samerjai 1, Kruatiwa 0.
Quarterscores: 32-22, 54-37, 88-62, 114-87.
Joshua Munzon picks up first win since returning to Westsports
It took three games before Joshua Munzon picked up his first win in his second stint with the Westsports Malaysia Dragons
The Dragons snapped their four-game losing streak after hammering the struggling Formosa Dreamers, 84-74, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.
Munzon, who returned to Westsports Malaysia last January 3, finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Moreover, the title-holder for most steals in a season was able to force five turnovers in the contest in 37 minutes of action.
The 22-year-old averaged 26.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists prior to this game.
As he struggled from the field in the final frame, the versatile Filipino-American forward did the little things to help Westsports pull away late.
A three-pointer Marcus Marshall with 7:19 left proved to be the go-ahead bucket for Westsports. The Dragons led by as much as 10 points, 69-59, in the contest.
Behind Lenny Williams and the debuting Ronnie Aguilar, Formosa was able to slice the lead to as low as three points, 75-71, with 1:07 remaining. Free throws by AJ West and Marshall in the end game however held off the Dreamers.
With the win, Westsports raised their slate to 2-4. Formosa dropped to 1-7.
Mikey Williams outduels Mikh McKinney as Saigon ends another streak
It looks like there’s a new powerhouse on the rise
Ever since they tapped Filipino-American Mikey Williams, the Saigon Heat ended two undefeated runs in the ASEAN Basketball League. After the Heat ended Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club’s unbeaten run, they took down Chongson Kung Fu Basketball Club, 96-93, Saturday night at home in CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Their win over Kung Fu serves as a perfect follow-up to their impressive showing against another previously-unbeaten team in Hong Kong Eastern, 121-115, last Tuesday at the Southorn Stadium in Wanchai City.
The foreign reinforcements continue to deliver the goods for the now-4-2 Saigon.
Williams had 24 points, five boards, and seven dimes, while World Import Maxie Esho top-billed with 35 points and 12 rebounds.
The neophyte Chinese ball club had actually been on the cusp of maintaining their win-loss slate intact after World Import Anthony Tucker swished in a three-pointer to put his team up, 93-92, with just 21 seconds remaining.
But Saigon displayed more will and did not show any sign of crumbling. Moses Morgan hit a jumper with 18 ticks left, and Akeem Scott scored off a lay-up moments later to put the Heat up three with 14 seconds left to play.
Kung Fu tried to save their immaculate record, but Fil-Am cager Mikh McKinney’s shot missed and sealed the deal for Saigon.
Scott finished with 16 points for the storied Vietnamese ball club, who had another impressive offensive night, as they made 52 percent of their shots from the floor. David Viet Arnold supplied 11 markers and six caroms.
Fil-Am Caelan Tiongson led Chongson with 23 points on 58 percent shooting and seven rebounds in a losing effort. Tucker and Justin Howard finished with 22 points each and combined for 24 of the team’s 40 boards.
McKinney rounded up Kung Fu’s scoring leaders with 20 markers on 15 shots.
Chongson dropped to 4-1.