Alas rusty in PBA return, but Ravena says running mate will improve

MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Alas was a non-factor for NLEX in his first game back in the PBA, but his return was a step in the right direction with the Road Warriors looking to utilize him for a deep playoff run. 

Kiefer Ravena assured his backcourt mate Alas will get his footing as the Governors' Cup progresses despite being held scoreless as NLEX dropped a 94-102 defeat to NorthPort on Wednesday, November 13.

Playing for the first time since reinjuring the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee in February, Alas showed rust, missing both of his two shots and committing a turnover in 7 minutes of play. 

"It's going to take more time for Kev, you all saw what happened," Ravena said in a mix of Filipino and English as the Road Warriors had their five-game winning streak come to a screeching halt. 

"But we're happy to have him. He's another weapon we can use in the semis – or in the quarterfinals or in the playoffs." 

It has been an arduous journey for Alas, who missed 4 of the last 6 PBA conferences over the past two seasons. 

He first sustained the injury in the Philippine Cup in 2018 and missed the next two conferences that year. Alas returned in all-Filipino joust this season but reinjured his knee 5 games into his PBA return. 

The upside of Alas' comeback, Ravena said, is the element of surprise he will provide. 

"He's going to be fresh. Quite a few have not seen him play for quite some time so hopefully we can use that to our advantage," Ravena said. 

"[I]'m sure Kevin's going to improve slowly, gradually, and after this game, he will have a good game for us." 

Alas will try to make his presence felt as NLEX seeks to retain its No. 1 spot heading into the quarterfinals when it faces Alaska next Wednesday, November 20, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. – Rappler.com