Basketball fans are familiar with the image of a fired-up Jimmy Alapag, wearing his emotions on his sleeve as he tries to lead and inspire the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on the hardcourt.
What wasn’t quite as familiar was the sight of Alapag losing his cool. In Game Three of Talk ‘N Text’s semifinal series against Barako Bull, the PBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player had a running battle with defender Ronald Tubid, marked by trash-talking, physical play, and cheap shots. In the third quarter, Alapag was called for a technical for elbowing Tubid after getting fouled. Late in the game, the point guard received another technical for yet another second motion on Tubid.
But members of the Talk ‘N Text coaching staff aren’t surprised by Alapag’s volatile temperament. “He has a lot on his mind,” said one assistant coach.
Over the Holy Week break prior to the series against Barako Bull, Alapag flew to the United States to attend to his father, Crispin, who fell seriously ill. While there, Alapag received news that his brother George, who was in Manila, also suffered serious health issues.
On Twitter, Alapag asked his fans for support. “Please keep my Dad and my brother in your prayers,” he wrote before the start of the semifinals.
The Talk ‘N Text coaching staff was aware of the distractions surrounding the team’s spiritual leader, so Alapag’s performance in the first game of the series came as no surprise to them. Even though Alapag ended up scoreless in the semifinals opener, they said that it wasn’t his fault the team lost. Still, after the game, Alapag downplayed the effect of loved ones’ plight on his performance. “I just had a bad game,” he told the Manila Bulletin.
It is perhaps a testament to Alapag’s big fighting heart that he bounced back in Game Two, scoring 12 points in Talk ‘N Text’s 123-98 beatdown of Barako Bull. After the game, he thanked his fans on Twitter for their messages of support for him and his family. “Thank you guys for all the continued prayers for both my Dad and my brother. My family and I greatly appreciate it. #GodisGood,” he wrote.
After its loss in Game Three, Talk ‘N Text is now in a do-or-die situation against Barako Bull on Monday. And even though he may have a lot of things on his mind, it wouldn’t come as any surprise if Jimmy Alapag comes up with a giant effort once more to lead the Tropang Texters.
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