After long layoff, Kevin Alas ready for challenge inside PBA bubble
MANILA, Philippines—Kevin Alas will return to PBA action in a somewhat intriguing circumstance.
After sitting out the import conferences of the 2019 season due to injury, Alas will make his return inside a bubble environment as PBA is set to resume its season in the Clark Freeport Zone.
Alas admitted he may not be in game shape yet, but that doubt is also shared within the PBA’s circle of players.
“I think physically I’m prepared but of course I can’t say if I’m in game shape. I can’t say that I am at this point in time,” said Alas in Filipino in a Zoom conversation with Inquirer Friday. “I’ll know if I’m in game shape when the games itself start.”
“Personally I don’t think every one of us is in game shape because our last scrimmage was back in March.”
Alas, who has had a string of knee injuries in his career, said playing inside a bubble–which has become the new normal now in sports–will indeed be a challenge especially after a long layoff.
“It’s a challenge for everyone and for me as well because my last return I was coming off an injury,” said Alas. “That was back in March and I was playing well back then and it’ll be difficult to jump right back in.”
The PBA held just one game day in the 2020 season but had to suspend the Philippine Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team scrimmages are still banned due to lockdown protocols in the country, but will be allowed once the teams are inside the bubble and have cleared the necessary medical tests.
Alas averaged 11.3 points on an efficient 60 percent shooting with 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists during the Phoenix Super Basketball Tourney—a set of preseason between NLEX, Phoenix, San Miguel, and Alaska before the 2020 season.
“Back then we were practicing every day, had scrimmages every day, and this circumstance is different for me and everyone else because once we get to the bubble it’s the only time we’ll get to scrimmage and it’ll be for 10 days or two weeks,” said Alas.
“But we’re professionals, this is our job and we have to make the most out of it.”
Another experience that Alas will miss is the presence of veterans Larry Fonacier and Cyrus Baguio.
Fonacier and Baguio, who have been mentors to Alas since they became teammates, opted out of the bubble citing family reasons.
Fortunately, 47-year-old Asi Taulava will travel to Pampanga with the team providing much needed veteran leadership.
“You won’t see the impact of Larry and Cyrus in the stat sheet for the past few conferences but at the same time they’ve been mentors to not only myself but to the other guards as well,” said Alas. “They said that they’ll help in any way they can because we can still communicate via Zoom meetings.”
“Fortunately we still have Asi so we still have a veteran with us.”
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