Can the Mighty Mouse do a Magic?

THIRTEEN years ago, Magic Johnson stepped into the basketball court one final time, his first game back since announcing his retirement from the game after inflicted with HIV Virus.

He put on a performance of a lifetime, scoring 25 points and dishing out nine assists  in one of the most significant games in NBA All-Star game history.

Johnson, one of the league’s all-time greats, was voted by the fans to start in the guard position for the West team, which he led to a convincing 153-113 triumph over the East, even though he had already announced his retirement earlier on Nov. 7, 1991.

A similar case is happening in the PBA as Jimmy Alapag, who announced his retirement late last year, was also included to be a part of the South squad facing the North team in this year’s All-Star Weekend.

Like Magic, the Mighty Mouse made his mark in the history of the PBA.

In his 11-year career, he went on to win six championships, took the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards and ended up as the second best three-point shooter in PBA history with 1,177 treys made – next to The Triggerman Allan Caidic.

Will Alapag do something special in his last game in the PBA?

“I will do my best,” said Alapag. “But I’m thankful to Commissioner (Chito) Salud and the PBA for giving me one last opportunity to be on the court, to connect with the fans and play among the best players in the country during the PBA All-Star Weekend. I’ve always enjoyed my experiences during the All-Star Week, but this one will be more special to my family and I am looking forward to it.”

Like Johnson before him, Alapag was well-loved by fans.

Young players look up to Alapag as their hero. They adore this guy, barely standing 5’9,” for his big heart in playing against the best players in the world, watched by millions of fans all over the globe.

His clutch three-pointers were always huge. His popularity during the FIBA World Cup soared that he was even included in the tournament’s poster, along with NBA star Kyrie Irving, who played for Team USA.

Most of all, Alapag was born to be a leader. He was captain of the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters for so many years and skippered the Gilas Pilipinas squad for two years, while playing in major international tournaments like the FIBA Asia Championship, the World Cup and the Asian Games.

Like Magic, the Mighty Mouse was also loved by fans and younger players.

He served as inspiration to the Batang Gilas players and members of the San Beda Lions when he joined them in their practices.

His greatness and his contributions to Philippine basketball will be forever etched in our history. A fitting ceremony awaits Alapag where his jersey will be retired during Talk ‘N Text’s game against Barangay Ginebra on Feb. 15.

But fans are clamoring for more. They want to see Alapag inside the court one last time and give them a final glimpse of the player heaving from “The Jimmy Line,” a distance made especially for Alapag, which is way beyond the three-point mark.

They want to see Vintage Jimmy one last time and The Mighty Mouse is hoping to achieve that this summer when the PBA All-Star Weekend goes to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.                    

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