Guiao explains why he kept erratic Kevin Alas in game down to final buzzer
Kevin Alas is grateful for the trust given him by NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. Jerome Ascano

KEVIN Alas hopes to emerge a better player after his series of endgame miscues almost cost NLEX the win over Alaska in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday.

The fourth-year guard led the way for the Road Warriors with 15 points and played 30 minutes - the most for the team – in the 96-89 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that halted the six-game winning run of the Aces.

But his reckless plays going home aided an Alaska comeback that saw the Aces battle back from a 30-point deficit to pull within two in the endgame.

Good thing, the Road Warriors managed to hang on and pull off the scrambling win thanks to clutch free throws by rookie Kiefer Ravena and Larry Fonacier.

The team-high six turnovers, most of them coming at the height of Alaska’s frantic fourth-quarter rally, served as reminder of what Alas needs to keep working on.

“Five turnovers ako in the last five minutes yata, if I’m not mistaken. Napagsabihan nga ako ni coach Yeng (Guiao) about 'yung turnovers ko,” said the former Letran star player. “That’s a learning experience for me. Good thing nga nanalo kami (because) we had a 30-point lead.”

In all, the Road Warriors committed a total of 24 turnovers to the 16 of the Aces.

Despite Alas' sloppy showing in the stretch, Guiao didn’t flinch and kept Alas on the court until the final buzzer.

The NLEX coach had a simple explanation on why he stuck out with Alas.

“You have to live and die with the players that really will be the key players in our endgame. But that’s also a lesson for him, it’s a lesson for the team,” said Guiao.

“I took the risk. Maybe somehow I paid for that risk, but I’m sure he learned a lot from that experience.”

Alas felt grateful for the confidence given him by Guiao, and said the only way for him to repay his coach is to become a better player.

“Puro error na ako sa dulo pero hindi pa rin niya ako nilalabas. So thankful ako sa trust na binibigay niya sa akin,” said the son of Phoenix coach Louie Alas.

“Siguro in the upcoming games kailangan masuklian ko yung tiwalang binibigay niya sa akin kasi nagkakalat ako sa dulo. So I have to bounce back na lang.”

NLEX improved to a 5-4 (win-loss) record as it won its third straight game. The Road Warriors round out their elimination round schedule against Blackwater and TnT Katropa.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos