NLEX picks Wednesday for Alas return, avoids Antipolo arena

NLEX guard Kevin Alas will return from his second ACL injury on Wednesday vs. NorthPort. Winston Baltasar/ESPN5

Kevin Alas will return Wednesday when NLEX faces NorthPort, one game after the guard got the green light to return from his second ACL injury in the past two years.

So why didn't Alas return Sunday, when doctors had cleared him to play? The Road Warriors were playing at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, the same arena where he sustained the injury twice.

NLEX head coach Yeng Guaio made the revelation in the aftermath of a thrilling come-from-behind 86-85 win against Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.

"Actually, Kevin was supposed to play today but we postponed it because we're at Ynares and we're going up against Magnolia," said Guiao in Filipino.

Alas tore his ACL for the first time against the Hotshots in the 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals. He suffered another ACL tear on the same knee last February, five games after returning from the first one.

The spitfire guard admitted there's fear whenever he sets foot at the same venue, but said sooner or later, he needs to overcome it.

"I though I was going to play but I was told yesterday to postpone it," said Alas, who watched from the sideline as the Road Warriors overcame a 26-point deficit to grab a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

The good news is that Alas will suit up for the Road Warriors against NorthPort on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

That will allow the son of Phoenix head coach Louie Alas to get his feet wet. Guiao, though, said his minutes will be managed.

"He will play on Wednesday just to get him going and let him feel how it is to be back," Guaio said. "But of course his minutes will be limited."