LOUIE Alas was a huge helping hand when Alex Compton won his first basketball championship in the country as a player 15 years ago.
Now in search for his first ever title as a coach, Compton is counting on Alas’ guidance again.
Although stunned by the sudden turn of events at Alaska, Compton’s first move upon assuming the head coaching job of the Aces was to reach out to his former mentor who happens to be a fellow deputy with the franchise under former head coach Luigi Trillo.
Alas said he learned that Compton told management how he wants to have him retained as his chief assistant on the Alaska bench when it finally became clear he was to assume the coaching baton from Trillo early in the PBA Governors Cup elimination.
The soft-spoken Alas said he has no problem dealing with the matter, stressing be it Compton or Trillo who’s on board, he’s more than willing to share his knowledge and experience to give the 28-year-old franchise yet another championship.
Never mind that he once handled Compton with the Manila Metrostars back in 1999 that netted them a title in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) in a Finals series best remembered for the memorable Game Five shootout between the American gunner and a young local hotshot of the Cebu Gems by the name of Dondon Hontiveros at the old Cebu Coliseum.
“Hindi naman ako naiilang. Ganyan naman ang buhay ng mga coaches. Sa NBA nga maraming set-up similar to that,” said the longtime Letran coach.
Even as a budding player back then, Compton already showed the instincts of a potential coach, Alas admitted.
“Naging extension ko siya sa court. Napadali pa nga ang pagko-coach ko nun, e,” he recalled. “I told him, someday you will become a coach. Ayaw niya pang maniwala nung una.”
Alas' words proved prophetic when Compton succeeded Trillo as Alaska coach, just a year after their collaboration – along with Alas and fellow assistants Topex Robinson and Monch Gavierez – resulted in a championship for the Aces in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup.
Although Alas himself was perplexed with the coaching change, he said life has to go on as there is still a championship to chase for the Aces.
“Nag-usap kami ni Alex and may mga ideas ako na nai-share sa kanya,” he said. “Actually, ganun din naman ako kay Luigi before.”
But this early, Alas said he there is no doubt in his mind that his former player will excel as a head coach. That he has a degree in communication makes him even more effective in the job, Alas added.
“Mabait yang si Alex, and magaling makipag-communicate sa mga players. Mahalaga sa mga coaches `yun,” said Alas. “At siyempre, alam niya `yung basketball dahil naging player din siya dati.”