PBA: Career-high in return to action comes as a surprise to Kevin Alas
MANILA, Philippines–Kevin Alas considers himself the most surprised with the big performance he put in NLEX’s lopsided victory over Magnolia that extended their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series to a deciding Game 3.
Alas scored 30 points with six triples which were both career highs in the Road Warriors’ 90-77 victory over the Hotshots on Friday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City despite being sidelined for the last three games.
It’s a performance that was unexpected, considering Alas was sidelined for the last two games of the elimination round due to a hip injury and missed NLEX’s 98-89 loss in the opener last Sunday due to health and safety protocols.
“I didn’t expect anything coming into today’s game,” Alas said. “I missed a whole week of practice and when I came back earlier in the week, I thought my lungs would explode because I was too tired.”
He made shots from near and far in the first half, hitting 22 during that stretch as the Road Warriors took full control with a 55-32 lead.
It was a timely tonic for NLEX, which sorely missed Alas and Kris Rosales, who was also out due to COVID-19 protocols, in the first game which saw Magnolia taking the victory behind Mark Barroca’s all-around play.
“It was important to have Kevin and Kris back,” said Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao. “Magnolia’s guards are so good that we have to match their speed and quickness, and we sorely missed them in the first game.
“Even if we’re a complete team, Magnolia still has the advantage which shows how difficult it is to beat them,” added Guiao.
As much as he can take pride in the series-tying triumph, Alas knows that the job’s far from done as NLEX braces for the difficult task of beating Magnolia anew in Sunday’s decider at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s a total team effort against a well-experienced Magnolia team,” he said. “But we haven’t proven anything, we just tied the series, we just extended the series and we have to prepare on Sunday.”