KEVIN Alas has a chance to land a spot in the Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the first window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers featuring games against Japan in Tokyo and at home against Chinese-Taipei.
With Terrence Romeo and Jio Jalalon out injured, Alas is poised to be the insurance third point guard on the team behind Jayson Castro and Kiefer Ravena, although utility man Gabe Norwood is expected to run the point at some junctures when Gilas goes big.
Alas was part of the young Philippine team that won the gold in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar. He was also a reserve in the Gilas team that finished second to Iran in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila and played for the team in the 2014 Fiba Asia Cup in China.
The former Letran star also suited up with Gilas in the King’s Cup in Hong Kong where the team dethroned Southern California Fukienese Association, 81-77. Alas bagged the MVP award.
Alas is thrilled to have another chance.
“Having the chance to wear the Pilipinas flag on my chest is the best feeling,” the NLEX rising star said. “It's an opportunity many players like me dream of from a young age pa lang. So for me, being in this position is a huge blessing. I promise to make the most if it.”
“With regards to (making the Final 12), ready lang naman kami lagi kasi it's an opportunity to serve and to play for the Philippines,” he added. “Malaking honor na yun para sa 'min so whatever happens, magiging happy kami para makapaglaro sa Gilas.”
Alas, who turned 26 this month, has been present in all practices since training camp started two weeks ago.
Already proving that he can put the ball in the hoop in the PBA, averaging 14.3 points for the Road Warriors in the last Governors' Cup, Alas is eager to show that he can also deliver on the other end of the court.
“Yung role ko naman dito is coming off the bench and playing defense,” the 6-foot combo guard said after making a mark on defense in their 96-75 win over Rain or Shine in a tune-up game on Thursday.
Despite not contributing offensively, Alas has shown he can thrive under coach Chot Reyes' dribble-drive system and mesh well with his new teammates.
“Well, the system naman kasi ito rin yung under coach Chot dati so nagiging familiar naman din ako sa system,” Alas said. “Siguro what I'm adjusting to is yung familiarity with the new guys na ngayon ko lang nakasama. So far so good naman. Nakapag-adjust ako sa kanila.”