NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez is hoping Rodrigue Akl can become a temporary Lebanese version of Jimmy Alapag for his guards, especially Kevin Alas, in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Seeing how Alapag has mentored rookie Baser Amer at Meralco, Fernandez brought the Lebanese star playmaker in to more or less play the same role to the sophomore Alas.
“Feeling namin pwede naman kami hindi mag-Asian (import), but ang purpose namin is for that Asian to be like Jimmy Alapag,” Fernandez told Spin.ph after practice on Monday. “Yung ginawa ng Meralco kay Baser, kasi parang nag-mature bigla si Baser eh.”
The NLEX coach, who took Amer under his wing in his two years at San Beda, said he doesn’t need Akl to carry a heavy load.
“We’re hoping that he will really help us a lot in terms of the future,” Ferandnez said of Akl, who’s just 27, but already has a decade of experience as a pro and is also the star of the Lebanese national team. “It will not hamper the progress of my team.”
Fernandez cited the Road Warriors’ losses in the last two conferences, where they “never executed in the end, medyo naka-turnover kami, so feeling namin na kailangan namin ng leader na di-dictate sa amin.”
“Feeling ko lalong gagaling si Kevin at lalong titibay at magma-mature kung mayroon siyang nakikitang point guard na ito pala ginagawa,” Fernandez said. “I already talked to Rodrigue at alam niya kung ano ang gagawin niya kay Kevin. Hopefully he will really help us a lot in terms of making Kevin mature more and be ready for the all-Filipino.”
Alas is eager to learn from the 6-foot-1 Lebanese point guard, who is expected to arrive next week.
“Feeling ko yung last two conferences ko, I could’ve done much better,” said the former Letran star, who averaged 7.8 points on 40.4-percent shooting, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists in 25.5 minutes, starting in all but one of 22 games he played in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Hindi ko pa napapakita yung full potential ko and coach Boyet thinks na makakatulong yung Asian import para sa aming mga guards, so sana makatulong.
“I’ve been working hard para makapagpakita kasi medyo mataas nga yung expectations then medyo wala pa ako masyadong pinapakita,” he added.