WITH just 6.3 seconds remaining in the first overtime and the score tied, NLEX sophomore Kevin Alas made a bonehead play during a jump ball by fouling Chris Tiu and sending the Rain or Shine guard to the line.
Tiu made both free throws, giving Rain or Shine a 110-108 lead and leaving Alas at the mercy of fiery NLEX coach Yeng Guiao who gave him a tough-lashing during a timeout for a 'f______ stupid thing to do.'
Alas, however, showed a lot of maturity - and tons of guts - as he redeemed himself by hitting the tying layup four seconds later, salvaging a game which NLEX went on to win, 122-114, on Wednesday night.
"I called him out for committing that stupid foul on the jump ball, but he made up for it on the next play," said Guiao, whose profanity-laced tirade against Alas was caught on national television.
"Kevin Alas has been playing consistently. He’s a young player with maturity and consistency so far. I hope I don’t jinx it," he added.
That miscue completed a hero-to-heel-to-hero night for Alas, who finished with a career-high 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to continue his stellar play for the now 3-0 Road Warriors.
The 6-1 combo guard has been a big part of NLEX's revival this conference as he is averaging 19 points on 57 percent shooting, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists after three games.
Alas credited new teammates Larry Fonacier and JR Quinahan for his improvement this conference, saying the two have been challenging him to take on the leadership mantle in the team.
"Siguro malaking bagay din sa akin 'yung trades na nangyari. Dumating si Larry, si JR, especially kay Larry naging vocal siya sa akin pagdating sa practice," said Alas.
"Sinasabi niya, ‘Hindi pwedeng tulad sa Talk N Text na kami yung magdadala sa 'yo, dapat ikaw na yung magdadala sa amin.’ Parang ganun, sinasabihan niya lang ako lagi na kailangan mag-mature na ako at mag-step into that leadership role," he added.
Though he's taking it one game at a time, the former Letran Knights star is hopeful that his stellar play will lead to something wonderful for the Road Warrior after two dismal conferences under Guiao.
"I hope. It’s still early. We still have a lot of improvements. I hope this is the start. We need to be consistent."