The NLEX Road Warriors' worst fears were confirmed after guard Kevin Alas once again tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, the team announced Monday.
"We regret to inform the public that Kevin Alas sustained an ACL injury on his right knee during our February 2 game against the Meralco Bolts," the Road Warriors said in a statement. "Our medical team is set to confirm the extent of the injury through MRI results on Tuesday, February 5."
"This is the same knee which was injured in last year's Philippine Cup. According to our medical team, Kevin will be out of action for several months as he goes through another round of surgery and therapy.
"We thank our fans for supporting Kevin during his 2018 recovery. It is no secret that Kevin worked extremely hard to get back in fighting form for the 2019 PBA season. His therapists, coaches, teammates, and entire NLEX Road Warriors family are all witnesses to his patience, perseverance and desire to play the sport he loves. We hope you join us and continue to support Kevin as he overcomes this challenge as well. #ArangkadaAlas"
Last Saturday, Alas went up for a rebound with around three minutes left in the game and was met in mid-air by Cliff Hodge. The athletic guard hit the floor upright, but his right knee wobbled a bit and he lay on the floor for a few minutes clutching it.
Alas managed to get up and sink both free throws, but was immediately subbed out and headed to the locker room. He returned to the bench with his knee wrapped in ice and no longer re-entered the game, which was won by NLEX 87-83. He finished with 12 points and later told the media that he felt all right.
Alas first tore his right ACL on March 18 of last year in a semifinal game against Magnolia, ironically also at the Ynares Center. It was his first game back at the venue since that fateful night 11 months ago.
It was a big blow for Alas, who had been averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 assists in five games this conference and had worked hard to return to action sooner than expected.
"He'll be okay the soonest," said Phoenix head coach Louie Alas, Kevin's father, in a message to ESPN5. "Kevs is super tough mentally."