PBA: Returning Kevin Alas eager to prove himself once again
Santino Honasan on Jan 08, 2019 10:50 AM
"Iím here, itís a chance to prove myself, may gusto akong patunayan para sa sarili ko, na I can be better than before." - Kevin Alas
The last time we saw NLEX playmaker Kevin Alas on the court was back in March of 2018.
The former Letran Knight, along with backcourt runningmate Kiefer Ravena helped lead NLEX to a playoff berth and even a semifinals run in the 2018 Philippine Cup.
Then, it all went south.
A minute into the fifth game of NLEX's semifinals series against Magnolia, Alas suffered a knee injury, that would be ruled as a torn ACL.
The Road Warriors would go on to lose the series, 4-2, and the 27-year old would be sidelined for the next ten months.
Now, as a new season draws closer, Alas is back and ready to go for NLEX, and he's more than ready to prove why he was an integral part in the Road Warriors' deep playoff last year.
"Actually, super excited [na ako bumalik], kasi na-subukan yung patience ko for eight to ten months eh, but now I’m here, it’s a chance to prove myself, may gusto akong patunayan para sa sarili ko, na I can be better than before," Alas shared with ABS-CBN Sports.
Alas' return defnitely strengthens the new-look NLEX side that now features star big man Poy Erram, who was acquired in a three-team trade.
For Alas however, having Erram, a solid presence in the middle that the team has longed for, should not be a cause for complacency.
As good as the Road Warriors look on paper, Alas maintains that they still have a lot to work on when the season commences this coming January 13th.
"We have to keep improving, hindi dapat kami maging over-eager na parang, we know we have Poy, iniisip namin na much-needed na height namin. We still have to work hard, we still have to keep improving, then wag masiyado mang-gigil, kasi sometimes pag inisip mo na gigil, then kayang-kaya mo yung kalaban mo, siguro doon lumalabas yung, doon mag-sstruggle yung team eh, pero sa nakikita ko sa nangyayari ngayon, I can see positive signs naman eh."
"Kay Poy, sa practice, hindi ko naman nakikita na nag-sstruggle siya sa system namin, parang smooth na smooth yung pag-takbo niya sa offense namin tsaka sa defense namin," he added.
As for Erram, Alas believes that the six-foot-eight former Gilas slotman will be an important addition, especially with other teams boasting dominant big men.
"First of all, his presence palang, tignan mo yung height niya, parang all the teams naman, gusto nila ng pang-tapat kay June Mar [Fajardo], kay Greg [Slaughter], ngayon we have Poy, but siyempre, it remains to be seen. Kailangan muna namin patunayan sa court eh, hindi pwedeng we’re good on paper lang. We have to prove ourselves, still."
As for his road back, Alas believes that his injury was a blessing of sorts, in that it gave him time to assess himself and address what needs to be worked on.
The injury wasn't an easy pill to swallow however, Alas admits.
"Nung nalaman ko na na-ACL ako, nung na-injure ako, coming to the check up, still positive ako, iniisip ko na parang sprain lang ito or something. Nung nalaman ko na na-ACL ako, talagang umiyak ako, then after that, yung mindset ko, ini-switch ko na parang inisip ko na lang na blessing in disguise siya, parang I’ll take this challenge, kailangan ko patunayan sa sarili ko na magpapa-lakas ako, mas mag-papabilis ako, I’ll improve yung mga kulang ko sa game ko, so talagang I took it positively, inisip ko na blessing in disguise ‘to, si Lord may sinasabi na may kulang pa sa akin, magpa-lakas ako."
While Alas maintans that he's back to full health, he shares that there are still some jitters, especially being gone for nearly a whole year.
"Physically, I’m a hundred percent na, pero siyempre iba parin pag-dating sa PBA game eh, hindi ko parin ma-rate or ma-gauge yung sarili ko pagdating sa game kasi iba yung pagdating sa practice tsaka pagdating sa game eh, for me, it remains to be seen pa."
If there's anyone happier to see Alas back on the floor, it's his head coach Yeng Guiao, who spoke highly of the star guard's importance to the team and how much help he would have been for NLEX's Commissioner's Cup and Governors' Cup campaigns.
"When you see him in practice, we saw him in our only scrimmage so far, you realize what you lost for almost eight months. Sayang, nanghihinayang ka, that’s how good he is, how he makes plays for us, all you can say is ‘sayang, kung nandito lang siya,’ pero ngayon, andiyan na siya, sabi ko nga, wala na kaming excuses. We have to be able to perform and deliver based on the potential of this team," the veteran mentor expressed.