‘Plays like he’s 6-10’: Undersized import Khapri Alston impresses Columbian
MANILA, Philippines—At just 6-foot-3 and a half, Khapri Alston is the shortest among reinforcements in the coming PBA Governors’ Cup.
But don’t let the Columbian Dyip import’s height be a distraction from what he can do on the court.
“Alston really surprised me. He’s only 6-3 and a half but he plays like he’s 6-10,” Columbian head coach Johnedel Cardel said in Filipino. “He has a very high basketball IQ. He can get in the post and create something for his teammates.”
Cardel isn’t just praising Alston based off his video highlights after already seeing what the former Midwestern State University slotman brings to the table in a pair of tuneup games against Rain or Shine and NorthPort.
“He put up big numbers during our tune-up games and (NorthPort) coach Pido (Jarencio) even told me how impressed he was after seeing Alston play,” Cardel recalled.
“He fits very well with us. I talked to the locals and all the locals like him and the way he plays. He’s very patient, quiet and very understanding. He doesn’t complain whether he has the ball or not. He just plays.”
The 25-year-old Alston will make his PBA debut against Alaska when the season-ending conference opens on Friday but it’s not his first time playing overseas.
Alston has played in England, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile before coming to the Philippines.
The stocky Alston also has high praise for his teammates especially for CJ Perez, who is coming off an impressive showing with Gilas Pilipinas in his first World Cup stint.
“He’s really great especially playing in the World Cup against great talent and different great teams. He was looking very good. I like his style of play, his energy, his motor,” Alston said of Perez.
Facing taller competition is nothing new to Alston but rather a challenge he is more than willing to embrace.
“That’s been my whole career since I started playing basketball when I was 13 years old. Playing the post position at my size I was always smaller but I’m from Chicago so we’re taught to not be afraid of anyone and play hard no matter who it is. The height, size, anything doesn’t matter.”