ALASKA assistant coach Louie Alas couldn’t have said it better.
As he heard the names of sons Kevin Loiue and Kristofferson called out during the last PBA Annual Rookie Draft, he can’t help but look back on his own situation more than two decades ago when a potential pro career was suddenly railroaded by a freak accident.
Kevin was tabbed by Rain or Shine as the No. 2 pick overall, while Kristofferson joined his father at Alaska when the Aces picked him in the second round at 14th overall.
“Nag-flashback lahat sa akin,” said a beaming Louie Alas when asked by Spin.ph what was going through his mind the time he saw both his children go up the stage and welcomed by their respective mother teams with the traditional jacket and cap given to all rookie draftees.
“Sobrang saya ko. Nasabi ko sa sarili ko, 'Yung unfinished business ko noon, sila ang gagawa.'”
Louie Alas was full of hope and promise back in 1990 when he was picked by Purefoods in the Rookie Draft (third round) that had Cebuano hotshot Allan Peter Jao emerging as the No. 1 overall selection.
The former national coach was in fact already joining the Hotdogs in their scrimmages and practices and was actually about to sign with the franchise which had the likes of Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, and Glenn Capacio leading its young core.
Then disaster struck.
“Na-ACL ako, pre,” he recalled of the unfortunate incident. “Actually nag-la-laterals lang kami, mga drills nung nangyari 'yun.”
Unlike now, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears were then considered career-threatening injuries, a big blow for an athlete like Louie, who was full of hope of finally making his childhood wish come true.
The contract and offer to play naturally, never came after that.
He was doing so good in practice that Louie became hard on himself following the accident, which took him all of nine months to recover.
Purefoods tried to tap his services again, but the trauma left behind by the injury was simply too heavy a burden.
“Wala akong agent nun, pero kinausap na ako ng management, anytime pipirma na ako sa Purefoods,” said Alas. “Kaya ang sama ng loob ko after that. One month kami nagbakasyon ng misis ko para lang makalimutan ko man lang 'yung nangyari.”
When he finally recovered, Louie resumed his basketball career by hooking up with A&W team in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) under Joe Lipa.
The mercurial coach tried to help his player make it back to the PBA and Alas came close to hooking up with Great Taste.
Unfortunately, lighting struck twice.
“Pre, na-disband naman 'yung Great Taste,” he said with a big laugh.
Louie never played again afterwards and instead, concentrated in coaching, where he eventually made a name for himself in stints with the Manila Metrostars in the MBA, Letran in the NCAA, Talk 'N Text in the PBA, the Philippine Patriots in the ABL and now with Alaska where he is the chief assistant of former player Alex Compton.
Still, he can’t help but be moved upon seeing his two sons take a step closer to realizing a dream he never got to fulfill.
“Sabi ko nga sa misis ko, 'Ito 'yung pinaka-masayang moment sa buong basketball career ko,” said Alas.