LOOK: Jimmy Alapag reunites with rival-turned-friend Fadi El Khatib

Alapag

The Lebanon men’s basketball team may not be as imposing as China or South Korea, but one player always struck fear to the Filipino quintet, in the form of Fadi El Khatib.

The chiselled and bearded veteran – who often went on impressive scoring binges by barreling his way inside – had plenty of memorable match-ups against Team Pilipinas (previously named as Smart Gilas Pilipinas) in FIBA Asia tournaments in the early 2000’s.

Now retired from his national team duties, the 38-year-old served as the Lebanese representative in the FIBA Players Commission meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, where he met up with fellow FIBA legend and Filipino delegate Jimmy Alapag.

“Always great to see my good friend, and one of the best players to EVER play in Asia. @fadielkhatib15 Here together in Geneva for the @fiba Players Commission meeting,” Alapag captioned an Instagram post, showing the former fierce competitors flashing their pearly whites.

Both named as captains of their respective national teams, the physically imposing El Khatib and the diminutive but crafty Alapag developed mutual respect for one another after figuring in many intense matches over the years.

Representing the Lebanese flag since 1999, El Khatib became one of the top 10 highest scorers in the two world championships that Lebanon participated in – including 10th in 2002, 8th in 2006 and top 20 in 2010. He announced his retirement from international competition in 2017, but continues to suit up for the Champville SC in the Lebanese Basketball League.

Alapag, on the other hand, has hit plenty of crucial shots for the Philippine basketball squad, perhaps none bigger than the dagger threes he hit against South Korea in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championships, which sent the team to the World Cup the following year.

He currently serves as the head coach of the Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.

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