HANGZHOU, China — Kevin Alas heaved a sigh of relief following Gilas Pilipinas 89-61 victory over Bahrain in the men’s basketball event of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Gymnasium here.
But, it wasn’t because of the victory.
“Last-minute addition to be part of the national team, of course, iba ang feeling. I’m very grateful to Coach Tim (Cone), Coach Alfrancis (Chua) and of course the MVP Group for allowing me to play,” the 31-year-old playmaker told Daily Tribune shortly after posting their first win of the tournament.
Together with Chris Ross, CJ Perez and Arvin Tolentino, Alas was on pins and needles the past couple of days as he was a last-minute inclusion in the Gilas roster after the organizers declined the entry of Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo and Mo Tautuaa.
Alas joined Gilas in their training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna last week and was part of the roster when they collided with Changwon LG Sakers in a friendly match last Friday.
Alas admitted that he only got his accreditation card 30 minutes before their flight to Hangzhou via Hong Kong on Sunday.
“Coach Tim was so stressed at the airport because our accreditation (cards) arrived 30 minutes before our departure. We nearly missed our flight,” Alas said.
“So I’m really, really grateful that we are here today.”
Alas said he is planning to repay Cone’s faith in him by helping him win his first Asian Games title.
“Whatever role Coach Tim gives me, I will accept. I know that he needs a stabilizer and a ball handler. That’s my role here. So whatever he wants me to do, I will do it,” said Alas, who finished with two points in more than 11 minutes of action.