IT has been 16 years since Louie Alas handled a PBA team as a head coach.
The long layoff showed in the 'lapses' the new Phoenix coach admitted making in a 104-96 decision at the hands of powerhouse San Miguel in the opening game of the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“First few minutes nag-struggle ako. Pero later on, when we were down by five, sabi ko nga sa kanila dapat mas-sharper ako," said Alas, accepting the blame for what he felt were mistakes in the defensive coverage of SMB big man June Mar Fajardo in the endgame.
“From there lumaki yung lamang e. Three points ni Marcio (Lassiter) tapos basket ni (Alex) Cabagnot ... basta next time, I’ll be sharper. Yung mga ganoong situation, magkamali ka, lalo na’t you’re trailing? Patay ka. Patay nga kami,” he added.
The Fuel Masters fought bravely against the fourpeat-seeking Beermen, trimming what once stood as a 17-point lead down to five in the fourth period only to falter in the final stretch.
Still Alas saw some positives.
“I saw some positive things. Kasi, easily pwede na kami mag-give up eh. Nung nagpalit kami ng tao dahil pagod na, from 17, na-pull namin sa five,” Alas said.
“As I’ve said, if I did a good job on rotations or handling the doubling scheme, baka iba naging resulta. Baka na-stop namin. Part of that loss, sa akin yung balik.”
Consistency will be the key for the Fuel Masters this season and Alas is paying a closer attention to the combinations he has on the floor.
“We just have to find the right combinations na kahit magpalit ka ng tao, dapat consistent ka. That’s my job,” said the longtime assistant coach at Alaska, whose last head-coaching job in the PBA was with Mobiline (now TNT) in the nineties.