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Alapag excited about stint with Meralco

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Thinking Jimmy Alapag doesn’t have what it takes to be impactful in the PBA is now officially an afterthought, as the veteran made a sucessful return to the pro league.

It’s the only appropriate way to describe it perhaps, given pundits thought Alapag retired prematurely and that he was still in his prime.

On Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, 293 days after announcing his (first) retirement and 307 days after his last game, Alapag took the court again and started for the Meralco Bolts.

The Bolts fell in the end, 85-101 although Alapag had 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 8 assists in his return to the league.

Coming out of the team dugout in uniform instead of street clothes, and gathering his team to a huddle before the game began, Alapag felt grateful.

“Not as weird as I thought it would be,” Alapag said on how he helt playing again after a long layoff.

“I am thankful to still be part of the league and be in a position to mentor some of the younger guys. This point of my career, I feel like I am not only able to help this team also come back to the game and help the young guys our team has moving forward.”

The former league MVP and Gilas Pilipinas veteran relayed how the pieces “kind of fell into place” when he trained with the third iteration of Gilas three months ago and how his family inspired him to do more.

Now back, the 12-year pro seeks more silverware to add to his already prestigious collection.

“From what happened to Gilas to having a conversation with coach Norman about the possibility of coming back, to having (my family) seeing me one more time. It made the decision a bit easier. It sparked that fire to be here and help Meralco to a championship,” he said.

“We have the pieces to do it.”

Alapag admits he is still in a feeling out process with the team, but he is excited to make strides and at the same time be of help to the next generation of Bolts all-stars.

“We got great pieces. Anytime you join a new team, there is always a feeling out process. But the guys have been working hard and that is the first step. For the majority, we did okay but still have room for improvement,” he said.

“To still compete and compete at a high level and at the same time get back to the game and mentor young guys, that’s what it is all about.”

“I am excited.”

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