It was a call-up Kevin Alas didn’t expect.
But given another shot at playing for Gilas Pilipinas, the young third-year guard hopes to make the most out of his stint with the national team.
Along with Baser Amer, Alas was the latest player from Meralco and NLEX, respectively, to be added by coach Chot Reyes to his training pool that is set to undergo preparation for a number of overseas tournaments in the next few months.
Although a bit surprised by his selection, the former Letran standout welcomed the opportunity to be playing under Reyes again after being part of Gilas 2.0 team.
Alas said Reyes has yet to give him a call or personally talk to him, adding he only learned about his Gilas inclusion through a story run by SPIN.ph and later on, through various messages on Twitter.
“It was a surprise for me but I’m very thankful for the trust Coach Chot has given me,” said the son of Alaska deputy Louie Alas shortly after NLEX's practice on Tuesday.
Alas was among the youngest players at Gilas during his two-year stint with the team.
He first played as part of the cadets team under coach Jong Uichico that won the gold in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar. From there, he suited up with Gilas in the King’s Cup in Hong Kong where the team dethroned Southern California Fukienese Association, 81-77, with Alas copping the MVP award.
The 26-year-old Alas, the second pick overall during the 2014 rookie draft, was a reserve for Gilas when it won the silver medal behind Iran during the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship in Manila, but saw action with the team when it won the bronze medal in the 2014 Fiba Asia Cup in a campaign best remembered for Paul Lee hitting two pressure-packed free throws with no time left to beat host China in the battle for third place.
Alas said his previous experience of having played under Reyes could be one his strengths coming in.
“I think advantage sa akin yun kasi I’ve already played with Coach Chot before and is familiar now with his (dribble and drive) system,” he said. “Siguro kung may adjustment man, kaunti na lang talaga."
His stint with Gilas also opens another opportunity to be reunited with one-time Gilas teammates June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, and Jayson Castro.
“Sila kasi yung mga naabutan ko dati sa Gilas. Si Japeth was even once a roommate of mine,” Alas recalled.
Of course, he played with Amer before during their time with the Gilas cadets, while Raymund Almazan and Terrence Romeo were former teammates at Letran.
“Nag-abot pa kami ni Terrence nung last year niya sa Letran (high school) bago siya lumipat ng FEU,” added Alas.
The NLEX guard said he’s ready to join the Gilas pool anytime Reyes summons the team to practice.
“Once na mag-start (practice), ok naman ako,” he said.