<
>

Kevin Alas shares why staying with Letran was the best move he ever made

Kevin Alas spent the bulk of his basketball career donning Letran's colors. But he recently revealed that back then, he nearly transferred to two different schools in the UAAP.

After playing high school basketball for the Squires, Alas trained with the De La Salle University seniors varsity team for a couple of months.

"After high school ko, I was already practicing with La Salle for two months siguro," Alas said on the 2OT podcast on Saturday.

But during a scrimmage a week before the Green Archers were going to head to Chicago for a training camp, Alas decided against transferring to La Salle because he felt that he wouldn't get as much playing time as he would with the Letran Knights.

So he called up Franz Pumaren, who was the Green Archers coach at the time, and passed on the opportunity. He chose to play for the Knights, whose head coach was his father Louie, and went on to have a fruitful rookie year.

After that season of college basketball, the Ateneo Blue Eagles tried to lure him.

"After ng rookie year ko I was recruited ng Ateneo," he said.

Alas, along with his dad, met with then Ateneo head coach Norman Black and team manager Paolo Trillo for a meeting over lunch. The opportunity was so hard to pass up on, Alas shared. Growing up, he dreamt of playing in the UAAP, but his heart ultimately told him to stay with Letran.

"Napaisip ako. As a kid kasi gusto mo UAAP school, kasi yung hype nandoon lahat. Tapos last minute, my heart said Letran gave me this opportunity. Ganda ng rookie year ko, ganda ng high school ko. Feeling ko parang dito pa rin sa Letran ako makakakuha ng magandang opportunity para maglaro e."

During the whole process, Louie was there with his son. Although he was Kevin's college coach, he never intervened. He let his son make the big decisions for his career.

"Siguro that's what good about my dad. Kasi there are always big decisions to be made pero hinahayaan niya ako," he said. "Kung magkamali ako I can learn from it. Kung maganda, he's always there to support me. My dad, never ako pinressure to make a decision. Pinabayaan niya ako mag-desisyon."

But staying with the Letran Knights was never easy. Playing for your dad also entailed the constant pressure to maintain a high level of play day in and day out.

"Pagdating ko nung college, may pressure kasi you have to play well kasi pag ginagamit ako, baka sabihin ginagamit lang kasi anak ni Coach Louie," he said. "Minsan 'pag best player, sasabihin kaya nag-best player kasi tatay yung coach. There's this always level of play na mine-maintain kasi, to be honest, mahirap din kasi lagi may sinasabi yung tao."

That was compounded by the pressure from a Letran community that always had high expectations. But that only motivated him and his teammates to play exceptionally every game.

"They expect you to be always in the Final Four. It's a good thing rin na maraming nasasabi mga tao kasi nagiging motivation sa players. Gusto namin i-prove na mali yung sinasabi nila."

Alas went on to have a fruitful collegiate career, which led him to the PBA. Looking back, he is glad he decided to stay with the school that gave him the right opportunities.

"I'm really blessed na nag-stay ako sa Letran. Feeling ko I wouldn't be here today kung lumipat ako," he ended.