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PBA: Yeng has an ace in Alas

By Waylon Galvez

As far as NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is concerned, guard Kevin Alas is a valuable piece in the Road Warriors’ promising campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup.

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That explains why Guiao, 58, kept his faith on the former Letran star who had his fair share of ups and downs in the Road Warriors’ shaky 96-89 victory over the Alaska Aces last Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The son of current Phoenix tactician Louie Alas did the Aces some favor when he turned the ball over five times in the course of Alaska’s stirring 32-4 fightback in the final canto that trimmed NLEX’s 30-point lead down to just 91-89 with 13.9 seconds left.

Instead of pulling Alas out and replacing him with veterans Larry Fonacier or Cyrus Baguio, Guiao stuck to his younger guard, knowing he still has a lot of room for improvement that can help himself and the Road Warriors – sooner than later.

“You have to live and die with that,” said Guiao when asked to give his thoughts on sticking with Alas during that final stretch. “They’re the key players and they’ll be the key players in the endgame. That’s a lesson for him…for the team.”

The 6-foot-1 Alas, who matched the game-high 15 points of Fonacier and Raul Soyud, also stuck to the positives as NLEX found a way to stretch its winning streak to three and improve its record to 5-4 in a tie with Barangay Ginebra from fifth to sixth spots.

“For me it’s an ugly win, but personally I’m sticking to the positives. Normally, mga learning lessons coming off a loss, and we’re lucky we’ll learn from a win,” said Alas, whom Guiao selected second overall in the 2014 draft when he was still with Rain or Shine.

“Napagsabihan nga ako ni Coach Yeng na ‘yung turnovers ko that’s a learning lesson for me. Good thing nga nanalo kami. Puro error na ako sa dulo pero di pa rin niya (Guiao) ako nilalabas, so thankful ako sa trust na binibigay niya sa akin.”

“Siguro in the upcoming games kailangan na masuklian ko yung tiwalang binibigay niya (Guiao) sa akin kasi nagakalat ako sa dulo so I have to bounce back na lang.”

If Alas will stay true to his words, then NLEX should be in good stead when the Road Warriors take on the Blackwater Elite on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan and TNT KaTropa on Feb. 28 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Written by Tempo Online

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