31 August 2015

What The Meralco Bolts Are Getting In Jimmy Alapag

Jimmy Alapag
The Meralco Bolts made a very surprising move when they agreed to a trade that would send Mike Cortez and James Sena to the Blackwater Elite in exchange for Talk N’ Text veteran playmaker Jimmy Alapag.

Alapag who declared his retirement from the league last February made a circuitous path to Meralco Bolts after the Texters received Larry Rodriguez from the Elites.

The Bolts already have the rights of three point-guards, Anjo Caram, Simon Atkins and John “Pamboy” Raymundo, but none had the experience and stable playmaking abilities of either Alapag or Cortez. This is the same reason why coach Norman Black had to resort to hiring an Asian point-guard Seiya Ando as import in the last conference.

The 37-year old Alapag is a very intriguing prospect since the Bolts will have a chance to upgrade its back court from a bevy of rookies in the PBA Annual Draft on 23, August. Though playing substantial minutes will probably be not an option for Alapag, he definitely has a lot of upside and tools to work with compared to Cortez.

For those not familiar with Alapag from his more than 12 seasons with the Texters since winning the Rookie of Year honors in 2003, it may be worth checking out exactly what the Bolts are getting.

At this stage, there isn’t one thing that Alapag can do exceptionally well, but he is still very good at a lot of things on both ends of the court.

First and foremost, at 5-foot-9, Alapag has excellent size for a point-guard and a backcourt rebounder, which is why he is averaging almost 4 rebounds per game in his career. He can even slide over to play shooting guard, something he excelled at when Jayson Castro joined him at Talk N’ Text. Versatility is extremely important in today’s PBA and Alapag’s ability to play both guard spots effectively is a plus.

His experience playing on the wing has allowed him to develop many ways to score. He is a solid three-point shooter who can get hot when his feet are set. In his lone conference with the Texters before he announce his retirement, Alapag had a career high of shooting 49.0 percent from beyond the arc. One of the highest percentage for a player last season. He can be streaky at times (most three-pointers made from 2003 to 2005 and 2009 to 2011), but he has consistent mechanics, and his free throw percentage is good enough to give hope that he can be more consistent from deep regularly.

He can also take advantage of smaller defenders down low with decent footwork on the block and enough fundamentals to shoot over the defense. While it may not be his strongest suit anymore, Alapag is able to attack defenders off the dribble when they close out too hard. He is an excellent creator for himself or others off the dribble, however, but may not be fine in a straight line.

Who knows if Alapag will wind up on the final 14-man roster or join the Bolts as a practice player, but Meralco have now brought in another talented veteran who could provide stability and experience to the young core the team is beginning to establish. The Bolts could be getting a nice deal in Alapag.

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