IT is expected to be a short stint with Gilas Pilipinas for pro-bound Kevin Alas but he is making the most out of it as he tries to gain more experience playing against tough foreign players in the Fiba Asia Cup.
Alas was recently activated by the national squad for the tournament starting Friday in Wuhan, China and is widely expected to be replaced when veteran guards such as Jimmy Alapag are reactivated for the Fiba World Cup.
But the experience playing with the other veterans including LA Tenorio in the tournament set July 11 to 19 will be a big boost as Alas prepares to join next month’s PBA annual rookie draft.
Alas, a six-foot guard out of Letran, is coming off a successful stint at the PBA D-League, leading NLEX to the Foundation Cup title for the Road Warriors’ sixth league championship.
The Gilas squad left for Wuhan on Thursday morning. The tournament is part of the national team’s preparations for the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“Siyempre kinakabahan pero excited din dahil first time kong maglaro against mga malalakas na national teams,” said Alas, whose prior international stints include a gold medal finish in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and a championship and MVP award from last year’s Super Keung Sheung Cup in Hong Kong.
Alas is eager to play alongside the PBA veterans, particularly Tenorio, who he said acts like Gilas’ second coach on the floor.
“Super laki ng respeto ko kay kuya LA. Ang dami kong natututunan sa kanya during practice. Saka sinasabihan niya nga akong huwag mahiya tumira, lalo na kung libre naman,” added the sweet-shooting former Letran Knight.
“Malaking tulong po sa akin yung kasama ko dito ang mga PBA players. At sa tingin ko, ang adjustment period ko sa PBA eh di na ako masyadong mahihirapan,” said Alas, who averaged 12.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds in the D-League.
Alas joins NLEX teammate Garvo Lanete, fellow Gilas pool members Paul Lee and Beau Belga of Rain or Shine as well as GlobalPort forward Jay Washington as they cover the spot for Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro, who are all resting after coming off a rigorous PBA season.