Louie Alas may have been a solid player back in the day, but there is one thing he failed to achieve: Play for the national team.
Now, he’s glad that his sons — Kieffer and Kevin — were able to accomplish it.
In an interview with Non-Stop Sports at The Link Podcast, Alas said he is happy that his two sons were able to suit up for the national team in major international tournaments.
His youngest son Kieffer, a star player from La Salle Zobel, had wrapped up his early goal of representing the country when he saw action in the 9th Asia Pacific Basketball U16 Tournament in Singapore while Kevin, a playmaker for NLEX, was already given several callups by Gilas Pilipinas in various international events.
Alas said playing for flag and country is priceless.
“These are the highlights of a player. When I was not included in the national team as a player, I was so happy to be named as coach of the Philippine team,” said Alas, who coached the national squad in the Brunei Southeast Asian Games in 1999.
The 15-year-old Kieffer agrees with his father, saying that it gave him pleasure playing for the national squad.
“It really feels good, what I get to practice, what I get to do in the Philippines, I get to showcase it abroad,” Kieffer said.
“I am also really happy because it fulfilled my dream of playing for the national team as well.”
Alas’ basketball career had been littered with frustrations.
A defense-minded guard from Quezon Province, Alas served as the star player of Adamson University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the defunct Philippine Amateur Basketball League.
“When I was in my first year in the UAAP, I was always assigned to guard players like Glenn Capacio, Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano. I was with them when I started my UAAP career,” Alas said.
“The competition was so tough that I had to be converted from an off-guard to point guard.”
But as good as Alas was back in the day, he never got an opportunity to play for the all-amateur Philippine men’s basketball team and failed in his dream playing in the Philippine Basketball Association.
As a national team aspirant, he had to compete with the likes of Capacio, Jojo Lastimosa and Bong Alvarez for a spot, prompting him to end up short making the roster of head coach Joe Lipa.
In the PBA, Alas came close to playing for Purefoods as he was selected in the third round in the 1990 Rookie Rookie Draft, but an anterior cruciate ligament injury deprived him of displaying his talent.
“When I got injured for the first time, I was not yet thinking of giving up playing,” Alas added.
“I was about to sign a contract with Purefoods then I suffered an ACL injury. It was only during my rehab with my second injury that I started listening to my coaches, sitting in and listening with them on the things they do. I don’t want to stay away from basketball.”
Alas said he is very glad that his sons were able to continue what he started, especially his dream of playing for the country.
“That’s why my advice to Kevin is that if ever he will sign a contract in the PBA, indicate a clause that you will be allowed if ever you will be tapped to play for the national team,” Alas said.
“That’s what I’m sharing with Kieffer as well: Become a national player.”