When Jimmy Alapag arrived in the Philippines in 2002, no one predicted that he would become the well-revered “Mighty Mouse” that he is today.
After all, the 5’9” guard failed to dazzle in his playing debut in the country. He was part of the national team training pool for the 2002 Asian Games, an opportunity he hoped to use to show his wares to PBA scouts.
Then a highly touted PBA prospect, Alapag missed the opportunity to prove his worth when he injured his hand. He considered it as the worst injury of his career.
“That got me cut from the national team,” Alapag recalled in a web series produced by Sports5 in partnership with The Medical City.
“Going back to 2002, I was playing my first game for the national team. I was running one direction, he was running the other and I had a break in my hand.
“As an athlete and as a coach, you want your players to be out there. You can’t do that when you’re injured.”
The injury definitely didn’t help Alapag’s draft stock. But it only made him more determined.
In 2003, he was selected by Talk ‘N Text with the 10th overall pick. Despite not being gifted with height, Alapag proved his critics wrong and bagged the Rookie of the Year honors that year.
Alapag went on to have a decorated 13-year PBA career, winning six championships and clinching an MVP award.
He also became a fixture in the national team, serving as Gilas Pilipinas’ heart and soul. His dagger three-pointer against South Korea in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and his impressive stint in the 2014 FIBA World Cup were only some of his most memorable moments with the squad.
Alapag’s story could have been different had he not recovered well from that broken hand in 2002. That’s why he is aware of the importance of dealing with sports injuries.
“Whether you’re an athlete or just someone who enjoys playing sports, you wanna make sure that your injury is being treated in a proper way. That way you can get the best diagnosis and figure out the quickest and best way to get back there on the court,” said Alapag, who now coaches Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Watch Alapag also discuss the diet of an athlete and debunk common myths surrounding first aid treatment here: