Coach Jimmy Alapag was beaming brightly on Saturday afternoon, clearly proud of what he and Tanduay Alab Pilipinas had done: reign victorious over SMART Gilas Pilipinas in a tune-up match, 81-76, at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
“The result isn’t so much of the concern. I was just happy with our guys — you know, the effort,” said the 39-year-old neophyte coach, referring to the great display of composure his wards had made that led to the huge win.
The friendly was a see-saw affair all throughout, but the breaks favored Tanduay Alab heavily. But aside from those breaks, everyone from the ASEAN Basketball League franchise made significant contributions.
“I just wanted to try my best to give all our guys confidence to go out there and contribute and do what they do best,” said Alapag, as he got solid productions from import Reggie Okosa and locals Lawrence Domingo and Pao Javelona.
Making the victory even sweeter was the fact that they had pulled it off minus top gunner Ray Parks, Jr., and another import Ivan Johnson, who are both nursing minor injuries.
Nonetheless, Saturday’s tune-up win is a great boost for Tanduay Alab, especially now that their ABL opener against defending champions Hongkong Eastern Sports Club is just a week away.
“It’s a huge confidence builder for our guys. I think it was a great test for us with a week away from the opener,” he said. “We can definitely build confidence from this and hopefully continue as we prepare for this coming week.
“Malakas yung kalaban namin. We have to be ready,” added the veteran internationalist, as defending champions Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club got stronger with the addition of Christian Standhardinger.
“I thought today was a good step in the right direction.”