IT'S a day of mixed emotions for the Alas basketball family.
The entire brood attended Kevin Alas' graduation ceremonies at Letran on Friday morning and will see the NLEX rising star take on Alaska, where dad Louie is chief assistant coach, in a crunch PBA Commissioner Cup game in the afternoon.
Kevin, a sophomore with the Road Warriors, is finally graduating with a degree in Information Technology course at Letran, where he and his father joined forces a few years ago to lead the Knights to the NCAA finals.
Father and son have found themselves on opposing teams in the PBA, and the irony of the situation is not lost on Louie.
"Sabi ko nga, 'Big day today,' kasi ngayong umaga, nasa school kami ng family ko para sa graduation ni Kevin, tapos mamayang gabi, magsasabong teams namin para sa positioning sa playoffs," said Louie, referring to the Alaska-NLEX match set at 4:15 p.m.
"Parang naglalaro ang tadhana," he added in between laughs.
Kidding aside, Alas, a multi-titled coach in the amateur ranks and in the defunct MBA who also had a previous stint as PBA head coach with Talk 'N Text, bared how elated he is realizing that he is about to turn the tosh of his first college graduate son.
"Sobrang saya ko. Hindi masukat yung saya ko nung nag PBA si Kevin, pero mas higit ang saya ko ngayong makikita ko na aakyat siya ng stage bilang isang graduate," he said.
Basketball at some point even became a hindrance to the family when Kevin was invited to join the Gilas cadet pool, forcing the former Letran Knight star to skip a year in school.
"Minsan nga kinausap ako ni Kevin, binalita niya na magiging part siya ng Gilas cadets. Pero sabi niya, kailangan niya muna mag-stop sa pag-aaral. Nalungkot," said Louie, a three-time NCAA champion coach.
"Alam mo sinabi ko sa kanya? 'Kevin, sa totoo lang, mas magiging masaya ako lalo ang nanay mo kung ga-graduate ka na.' Tapos 'yun, nangako siya na wag lang siyang i-pressure, tatapusin niya pag-aaral niya," he added.
"Mariin ko ring ginigiit sa kanya na, 'Anak, i-develop mo ang katawan at laro mo, mapupunta ka sa PBA, pero hasain mo utak mo, baka balang araw, ikaw pa ang maging may-ari ng isang team,'" he added.
Kevin, for his part, bared that finishing his four-year course did not come easy.
"Ang hirap din kasi ng pinagdaanan ko dun, pero fulfilling. Sa Letran kasi may last playing year ako, hindi ko natapos, tapos binalikan ko pag-aaral ko, pero masaya ako kasi proud parents ko sa akin," he said.
"Iba rin talaga ang feeling nang tapos ka, kasi alam naman natin, ang basketball hindi forever, iba pa rin ang may diploma," he said.
Meanwhile, Kevin promised that his studies won't go to waste as he bared plans to set up a business, through his PBA earnings, that has to do with computers.
"Balak kong magtayo ng business na IT-related. Sa ngayon, ipon pa muna ako kaya focus muna ko sa basketball. Pero magbi-business ako, para may fall back ako balang araw in case matapos na career ko (sa PBA)," he said.