FROM Letran, Louie Alas is headed nowhere.
After days of contemplation, the 49-year-old coach on Wednesday said he’s going on a one-year sabbatical from college basketball and is not inclined to accept any offer that comes his way, all but taking himself out of the running for the vacant Ateneo coaching job.
Alas said he will take the sabbatical so as not to offend Letran, the same school that has become synonymous to Alas following more than a decade of partnership that produced three NCAA championships, five trips to the Finals, and 10 Final Four appearances.
“I decided not to accept any college head coaching job this year as a sign of respect for Letran,” Alas said.
The statement quashed rumors that Alas may find himself coaching in the UAAP next season with Ateneo as reports said he is being seriously considered for the coaching job of the five-time men’s basketball champions vacated by Norman Black.
Alas remained mum about the Ateneo offer, but said it’s "flattering" on his side if reports are true that he’s on the list of candidates for the position.
Alas’ irrevocable resignation had already been approved with a heavy heart by Letran president Fr. Tamerlane Lana and will become effective by December 31.
He still shows up from time to time at the practices of the Knights, who are now being handled by assistant coaches Tino Pinat and Kris Reyes.
“Until December 31 pa naman ako, tsaka happy memories sa akin ang Letran. Sobrang suporta ang ipinakita nila sa akin, lalo na `yung mga Fathers diyan,” he said.
The champion coach stepped down from his job moments after the Knights lost the deciding Game three of Season 88 Finals against reigning champion San Beda Red Lions.
More than anything else, Alas reasoned out that his father-coach relationship with his two playing sons, Kristoffer and Kevin Louie, weighed heavily in his decision to quit the job.
Alas admitted he already recommended Pinat – a former teammate of Letran great Avelino `Samboy’ Lim - as his possible replacement, while juniors team coach Monch Gavieres would not be a bad choice either, he said.
Letran athletic director Vic Calvo said at the moment all the school could do is look for possible candidates who will replace Alas until his resignation becomes official. Calvo, who’s also the present NCAA Management Committee chairman, also mentioned the names of veterans Nemie Villegas and Larry Albano as among those on their list of candidates.
But if Calvo would have his way, he said Alas remains as the best coach fit for the Knights.
“Personally, I’m still pitching for coach Louie. For me, he’s still the best college coach in the entire Philippines.”