MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to Filipino point guards, there is no one quite like the legendary Jimmy Alapag.
Which is why when the former player-turned-head coach praised fellow Fil-Am Jason Brickman as a “John Stockton-like” guard in the ASEAN Basketball League, it's just a fact that the comparison is warranted and accurate.
So when the 27-year-old Brickman made the jump from Thailand-based Mono Vampire to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas back home, it was simply a match made in heaven.
"He’s a big reason that I came here," he said after Alab clinched its 3rd-straight win against no less than Mono Vampire on Tuesday, December 17. "Coach Jimmy obviously was a great point guard in the PBA. I know he’s done a great job coaching Alab."
Along with new Alab World Import Sam Deguara and current PBA player Paul Zamar, Brickman gave Alapag, then a rookie tactician, all he can handle in the 2017 ABL Finals.
Even with superstars like Justin Brownlee, Renaldo Balkman and Ray Parks in its arsenal, Alab needed a do-or-die Game 5 against Mono just to escape with its first ABL championship since 2012.
Now that the two basketball geniuses are on the same side, Brickman is ready to go all-out under Alapag in the league’s 10th season.
"Playing against his Alab team in the finals, I just know he does a great job with the team," he said. "He really lets the players have the freedom to play and use their strengths. I’m just looking forward to learning from him and I wanna bring a championship back to the Philippines with coach Jimmy."
One year after their grueling finals matchup, Alapag also never changed his view on his new lead guard as Alab moves on with its rebuilding year.
"That’s what Jason Brickman does. He provides that stability and leadership at the point guard position," he said. "I think again, being able to have a lot of depth at the guard position with our team, from Jason, Khalif [Wyatt], Jeremiah [Gray, Jordan [Heading] and even Andrei [Caracut], it gives us a lot of depth at that position."
"I think that’s something we will needed moving forward the rest of the season." – Rappler.com