NOT even star players can escape the wrath of Yeng Guiao.
Kevin Alas attested to the NLEX coach’s trademark tough love that has made him a better player on the way to being a Best Player of the Conference candidate in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Kevin Alas on Guiao's tough love
“Yes, of course. Lahat naman kami dumadaan sa ganyan,” Alas said on Spin Zoom In on Thursday. “Pero of course, with coach Yeng naman, nothing is personal with him. Pag nasigawan ka, pag namura ka sa game, it just stays there.”
“Kailangan lang medyo matatag ang dibdib mo, kasi pag dinibdib mo, ikaw din maaapektuhan eh,” he was quick to add. “It’s just one way of tough love. It’s an act of love pa rin.”
The 30-year-old star guard out of Letran did admit that Guiao’s tongue-lashing got under his skin at first, before he eventually got used to it – and realized it was for his own good.
“I’ll be honest; yung first years ko with coach Yeng, of course, naaapektuhan ako at nasasaktan ako. Syempre tao lang tayo,” Alas said. “Pero through the years, masasanay ka na rin na dapat pag napagalitan ka, isipin mo na lang na hindi personal yan.”
“Pag nag-turnover ka tapos napagalitan ka, in the next play, you just have to…bumawi ka in other aspects, kasi pag nanggigil ka, nag-turnover ka, na-foul ka, gusto mo bawiin with shoot. I really believe na mas lalo kang magkakamali at mas mado-doble lang yung mura sa’yo ni coach Yeng. You just have to be smart kung mamumura ka man,” he added.
Alas, who has played for NLEX since 2015 after spending his rookie season with Talk ‘N Text, recalled one fateful game against Alaska in 2018 when the Road Warriors were enjoying a huge lead that ballooned to, by Alas’ count, 30 points, when the Aces made a run that cut the lead to just three points.
NLEX still went on to win, but Alas took the blame for losing the lead after he committed a handful of turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Despite his shortcomings, Guiao kept Alas in the game, although the former Letran star still got an earful from his coach after the game.
“Hindi ako nilabas ni coach Yeng,” Alas said of the near meltdown. “Of course, pag dating sa dugout narinig ko lahat ng mura, pinagalitan talaga ako.”
“But my point is, kahit ganun si coach Yeng, talgang bibigyan at bibigyan ka niya ng chance to grow,” he added. “Kasi as a player, mas gugustuhin mo yun na nagkakamali ka sa loob, pero hindi ka nilalabas. Binibigyan ka ng chance na ma-itama mga mali mo.”
Alas has indeed thrived under Guiao’s unique way of developing players. In his first full conference without backcourt partner Kiefer Ravena, Alas averaged 16.4 points on 49-percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and one steal against 1.4 turnovers in 30.8 minutes in 11 games in the eliminations to become the Road Warriors’ top local in this Governors' Cup.
“I think one of the turning points dun sa gumaganda yung laro ko with is NLEX is after that game (against Alaska in 2018). Talagang malaking bagay si coach Yeng sa career ko,” Alas said.
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