NLEX guards Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena form one of the most lethal backcourts in the PBA, but their partnership could have come sooner.
While in his second year with Letran, Alas got an offer to play for the Ateneo, and his father Louie bared that an opportunity to team up with Ravena with the Blue Eagles was put on the table by then head coach Norman Black in order for him to move from Intramuros to Katipunan.
At that time, Ravena was already showing a lot of promise being one of the best high school talents in the UAAP.
“Nire-recruit ‘yan ni coach Norman at ni Paolo Trillo. Nag-dinner pa kami sa The Fort,” Alas revealed to SPIN.ph in a recent video interview. “Sabi nga sa akin ni coach Norman, Kiefer Ravena will be going to the seniors. The following year, si Kevin nagre-red-shirt, sabay sila aakyat. Sabi ko, that’s a very, very juicy opportunity.
“Plus, we all know Ateneo ' di ba?”
All along, Louie thought Kevin was already headed to Ateneo, but he was dead wrong. On his way to a preseason game, Alas was surprised to find out that his son was warming up and preparing for a game for the Knights just days after that meeting with Black.
“Pumayag naman si Kevin, pero ewan ko ba sa bata,” said Alas. “Nag-usap kami yata nila coach Norman Tuesday dahil pupunta sila sa Hong Kong for their victory (party). Nung Saturday, may laro Letran. Ewan ko kung ano kalaban. Supposedly, hindi na maglalaro si Kevin. Pagdating ko, nagwa-warm-up, nagra-round robin. Eh dapat ‘yung ang araw ng special exam nila. Kasama niya si Greg Slaughter.”
“Sabi ko, ‘Bakit nandito ka? Male-late ka doon.’ Sabi niya, ‘Dad, dito na lang. Mahirap magpaalam sa mga priest.’ Sabi ko, ‘Hindi mo problema ‘yan. Ako magpa-paalam sayo.’ Sabi niya, ‘Hindi, laro na lang ako dito.’ Wala na akong magagawa doon. The rest is history.”
Alas would team up with Ravena years later when Ravena was drafted second overall by NLEX in 2017, but not before the two players built their careers for their respective schools.
Previously, the younger Alas was already inclined to transfer to La Salle, but again, he decided to stay to the school where he played in high school and be coached by his father.
“Nung hindi siya sumama sa La Salle, nagpahinga ‘yan ng mga 10 days. Bumalik, nagbakasyon. Pagbalik niya, sabi niya, ‘Puwede ba akong mag-tryout sayo?’ Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Loko, hindi ka na magta-tryout. Kukunin na kita. Kulang ako sa player. Kung gusto mo dito.”