Sunday is always family day for most Filipinos. But it would be an interesting familial affair as Phoenix head coach Louie Alas guides his wards against rival Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) led by his son Kevin today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters will face their biggest test so far when they clash with the unbeaten Road Warriors. Coincidentally, the match will also be the first time that the elder Alas will face his son as a member of the opposing team.
The Phoenix mentor said that dealing with prowess of the younger Alas will be part of his game plan as his wards seek their second straight win when the All-Filipino conference resumes today.
“When I was still an assistant (with Alaska), we had a hard time beating him (Kevin) and it will more difficult now. But I have to do my job and he will do his own,” said Louie Alas, who mentored his son during the latter’s playing years with Letran from 2008 to 2012 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“He is one of the key players of NLEX and I have an obligation to contain him as well as his teammates. If there’s a sure winner here, it’s her mom (Liza),” Louie Alas said, lightheartedly.
The Fuel Masters are currently holding a record of 1-1 after splitting their first two games. And the older Alas said the Road Warriors are on a roll and will be an acid test for them.
“They have a deeper bench and more offensive firepower,” he said. “They keep on attacking and we can’t allow them to do that or else it will be over early. We have to play consistent defense against them.”
Alas and No. 2 overall pick Kiefer Ravena were instrumental in NLEX’s 119-115 win over Kia as well as its 115-104 victory over GlobalPort. The Road Warriors are now sharing the top spot with defending champion San Miguel Beer.
Ravena is averaging 19 points, 8.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds while Alas is netting 11.5 points and 4.5 assists per game as the back-up guard for the former Ateneo de Manila University standout.
Phoenix also beat Picanto, 125-102, in a high-scoring game last December 17 but the elder Alas said they couldn’t engage NLEX head on in a shootout.
“We need to limit their field goal percentage to 40 and below. They are a solid team and we need to be consistent and show our toughness,” the Fuel Masters’ mentor said. “If we get this, it will be a confidence builder. It will be hard but it’s doable.”
This will be the first time that a father (coach) and son (player) will face each other as rivals in the PBA. The other father and son in the league’s history were Robert Jaworski and his son Dudut Jaworski that both played for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel from 1995 to 1998.
When asked of the possibility of signing his son Kevin for Phoenix, the elder Alas replied in the negative.
“The direction isn’t going there. And in fact, he likes NLEX very much,” said Louie Alas.