Fit-again NLEX guard Kevin Alas still trying to regain his footing after five-month layoff
NLEX new boy Kevin Alas scored four points in 12 minutes on the floor in his first game back after a five-month injury layoff. Jaime Campos

INACTIVE for almost half a year, sophomore guard Kevin Alas was more than ecstatic just being back and playing on the court again.

Although clearly not yet in top shape, Alas made the most of his first game back from injury as he contributed off the bench in NLEX’s 90-86 win over Blackwater Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The second year pro finished with four points on 2-of-4 shooting in his debut game for the Road Warriors, who acquired him during the offseason in a trade that also involved former team Talk ‘N Text and Mahindra.

Alas admitted feeling a bit awkward playing his first game in the last five months.

“It felt good, first official game ko (in the last five months). Nung una nangangapa pa ako, pero I felt good na nakaka-drive na ako. Medyo ilang pa ako sa depensa kasi ‘yung conditioning ko 100 percent na, pero ‘yung game shape ko siguro 60 to 70 percent pa lang,” said the No. 2 overall pick in last years' rookie draft after his 12-minute stint on the floor.

[See NLEX survives scare from Blackwater]

The 23-year-old guard out of Letran spent the offseason recuperating from an operation after a second tear was found in his left foot.

While he’s now on the road to recovery, Alas said he’s having a hard time adjusting to the surgically repaired ankle.

“Nilagyan siya ng turnilyo. Ang hirap talaga kasi may bearing siya although hindi naman sumasakit,” said the son of Alaska deputy coach Louie Alas.

It’s good he need not adjust to the playing system of coach Boyet Fernandez, for whom he played for in the PBA D-League and won six championships.

“Pamilyar na ako sa sistema niya (Boyet Fernandez), so I just need to jell with my new teammates kasi it takes time para maging one solid unit kami,” he said.

Just a few meters away was injured Talk ‘N Text big man Kelly Williams, who went over and shook hands with his former teammate.

Asked if he’s looking forward playing against the same team with where he won his first ever PBA championship last year, Alas said he definitely does.

 “Pinag-hahandaan ko,” he said of the Talk ‘N Text-NLEX showdown on November 20.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos