MANILA — Jimmy Alapag isn’t exactly suiting up for Vlade Divac, but the recently retired Talk ‘N Text star is now on the FIBA team headed by the Serbian and NBA great.
Just a few months after the International Basketball Federation named Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan to the powerful FIBA Central Board, secretary-general Patrick Baumann appointed Alapag to the newly-established Players’ Commission under Divac for the term of office 2014-2019.
In a Jan. 23 letter addressed to Pangilinan and SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, Baumann, who is arriving on Tuesday at the conclusion of the FIBA Evaluation Commission’s ocular inspection of venues in connection to the country’s bid to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup, wrote, “It is a pleasure for me to inform you…that Mr. Alapag has been appointed as member of the FIBA Players’ Commission… We already look forward to closely working and collaborating with him for the sake of our sport and its athletes.”
A copy of the circular was furnished Divac, the Players’ Commission chairman, FIBA Asia president Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani, FIBA Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian, and National Federations and Sports Director Zoran Radovic.
The creation of a Players’ Commission was decided upon last August in Seville on the eve of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Its main duties are “to study issues relating to players of all age groups, propose to the Central Board measures deemed necessary to improve the conditions of players, make recommendations on practices or activities likely to be affecting the interests of players, and provide feedback on and advice on possible improvements to the various competitions of FIBA.”
Divac, president of the Serbian Olympic Committee, on the strength of his appointment as head of the Players’ Commission, automatically became a member of the FIBA Central Board.
Alapag’s appointment to the FIBA brought to four the number of Filipinos named to serve a five-year term in the world governing body for amateur basketball following the selection of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas to the FIBA Medical Commission and SBP consultant Atty. Edgar Francisco to the FIBA Legal Commission.
Pangilinan was elected to the 26-man Central Board, headed by Argentina’s Horatio Muratore, after a three-hour meeting last September in Madrid during the World Cup where Alapag put on a dazzling shooting display against powerhouse opponents Greece, Croatia, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
“I’m very honored with the opportunity to represent our country in the FIBA Players’ Commission,” said Alapag, PBA most valuable player in 2011. “Looking forward to the experience.”
Asked how he feels about being on the same commission with Divac, Alapag said laughing, “I just can’t wait to hang out with Vlade, perhaps teach him a thing or two about shooting.”
The 7-foot-1 Divac, a first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989, was one of the best outside shooting centers in the NBA, and, Alapag added, “maybe the best passing big man ever.”
Alapag hang up his jersey a few weeks ago after 12 seasons with Talk ‘N Text and was later named team manager of the Tropang Texters and assistant coach to Tab Baldwin at Gilas Pilipinas.
”We are very proud of Jimmy. When FIBA asked for nominees to its Players Commission, we had no hesitation in nominating him. He definitely will make his country proud and we are confident he will make positive contributions in the work of the Commission for the Players’ benefit,” said Barrios.