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Jimmy Alapag on Mike Magpayo: ‘He’s blazing a trail for all Filipino coaches’

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Tiebreaker Times Jimmy Alapag on Mike Magpayo: 'He's blazing a trail for all Filipino coaches' Basketball News  Mike Magpayo Jimmy Alapag

Jimmy Alapag is extremely proud of Mike Magpayo for ‘blazing a trail’ for Filipino coaches following his historic appointment as head coach of University of California, Riverside.

“What happened in UC-Riverside was awesome, man. To see a Filipino head coach in the Division 1 level is huge. He’s blazing a trail for all Filipino coaches,” he told 2OT, presented by SMART and supported by Phenom Sportswear.

Magpayo made headlines last July when he was named the chief mentor of the Highlanders, becoming the first coach of Asian and Filipino descent to hold such a position in the NCAA Division 1.

The 40-year-old admitted to Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered last July 16 that he couldn’t fathom how it unfolded since it all “happened really quick”. Understandable, though, since his appointment as head coach came just a month following his naming as the Highlanders’ associate head coach after helping the team to 17 wins in the 2019-20 season.

Still, he has brought immeasurable to the Filipino coaches with his achievements — and that includes Alapag, one of the Philippine court’s all-time greats, who’s now slowly making a mark as a coach.

“It’s awesome,” said Alapag, who steered San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to the ASEAN Basketball League championship in 2018.

“I love to see the success of Filipinos here locally or abroad.”

Now, Alapag serves as an assistant coach for the San Miguel Beermen in the PBA. And he hopes that he could, one day, become a trailblazer like Magpayo himself — but in the professional ranks.

Alapag said in the podcast that he and his family are seriously thinking of flying to the United States due to the uncertainties brought upon by the pandemic, though growing as a coach remains a goal for him.

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The 42-year-old shared that he has reached out to his contacts in the NBA and in the G-League if there are opportunities out there he could take, and so far, according to him, the feedback has been “very, very positive.”

Alapag had a glimpse of that level when he joined the Sacramento Kings’ coaching staff in the 2019 NBA Summer League thanks to the invitation of then-general manager Vlade Divac, his teammate in the FIBA Players Commission.

“Again, he’s blazing a trail for Filipinos at the collegiate level. Hopefully, one day, I might be able to do the same at the pro level there,” said the former Gilas Pilipinas captain, who is also a native of California just like Magpayo.

“I’ve actually had a chance to talk to him a few times, and we plan to meet some time in the near future for lunch or dinner.”

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