AFTER Mark Barroca, its Paul Lee who’s next for rookie Kevin Alas.
The freshman Talk ‘N Text guard is expecting his hands to be full as he looks forward to matching up with the veteran Rain or Shine gunner in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals which kicks off on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 6-foot Alas, son of Alaska deputy coach Louie Alas, admitted defending Lee is going to be a more difficult task as the combo guard out of University of the East has a mean inside-outside game.
Lee’s numbers in the Elasto Painters’ three-game sweep of Meralco in the semifinals would easily bear out Alas – 20 points per game average on 50 percent field goal shooting.
“Mahirap eh (defending Lee). Pero ako naman, I take the challenge kasi sa semis naka-matchup ko si Barroca. Medyo na-contain ko naman siya. So now, I’m looking forward to the matchup (against Lee),” said the 23-year-old Alas during the press conference for the best-of-seven title series held Monday at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood.
A known scorer during his amateur days with Letran and NLEX in the D-League, Alas is fast eanring a reputation as a stopper in his first season as a pro, holding his own against Barroca during Talk ‘N Text’s 3-1 semis series over deposed champion Purefoods.
Alas admitted that in the brief time he played under coach Jong Uichico, he has learned to embrace his new role.
The Finals appearance will be the first for the young guard, who is thrilled to face the very same team who selected him No. 2 overall in last year’s Rookie Draft before eventually shipping him to NLEX and then to Talk ‘N Text.
“Siyempre, excited ako kasi as a rookie, naka-experience ako na maglaro sa PBA Finals. But at the same time, added pressure din kasi Rain or Shine ang kalaban,” he said.
Alas has a personal 2-0 record against the Elasto Painters this season.
He banged a career-high 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists in Talk ‘N Text’s easy 99-76 win over Rain or Shine during the Philippine Cup.
In the opener of the Commissioner’s Cup, Alas contributed five points, nine rebounds, and three assists as Talk ‘N Text squeaked past Rain or Shine, 89-86.