NLEX guard Kevin Alas is excited to return to action after being out for eight months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee in the Philippine Cup semifinal series last year against Magnolia.
But all that is now behind him as the former Letran star is eager to help NLEX, which added key pieces to its roster this off-season.
And he's got his father and Phoenix coach Louie Alas to thank during his road to recovery.
"I'm fortunate to have a dad who shared his experiences to me because he also had a similar ACL injury before. He wasn't able to play (in the PBA) anymore after that," Alas told ESPN5 on Saturday, shortly after NLEX nipped San Miguel, 102-98, in a tune-up match.
Unknown to many, the elder Alas came close to achieving his boyhood dream of playing in the PBA when he was selected in the third round by Purefoods during the 1990 Rookie Draft.
Louie Alas joined Purefoods in practices and a few scrimmage games and was ready to sign a contract with the team when disaster struck as he tore his ACL in his knee.
It took him nine months to recover from the injury, but eventually, his career eventually shifted from playing to coaching.
With the lessons from the past he got from his father, the younger Alas shared that he's become wiser and prepared for the coming season, which opens Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The young guard also mentioned that it helped a lot to practice for two weeks with the MPBL team Bataan Risers, who are being handled by Jojo Lastimosa. Lastimosa also serves as one of coach Yeng Guiao's assistants at NLEX.
At the same time, the 27-year-old Alas said he's been doing online research on how players should respond following a knee injury. And psychologically, he's been doing fine after playing three tune-up games in the offseason.
"So far psychologically, after three tune-up games, I feel I'm fine. I don't feel afraid (of getting injured again) but I just play my usual game," he added.
For Alas, the 2019 season gives him an opportunity to help the Road Warriors reach the PBA Finals after falling short of their goal during the Philippine Cup last season.
The sweet-shooting Alas is excited with NLEX's title chances, considering the team got a big boost with the offseason addition of slotman John Paul Erram, along with rookies Kris Porter and Paul Varilla.
"Now that we have a big man in Poy Erram, coach was telling us that now, we have no more excuses. We just need to work hard. We can't afford to be complacent," shared Alas, selected second overall in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft.