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Veteran Alas tapped to boost Ateneo coaching staff

LOUIE Alas is tipped to provide veteran experience and winning attitude to Ateneo de Manila University. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA

Ateneo de Manila University waged a recruiting coup when it landed Louie Alas as part of its coaching staff starting Season 87 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

No less than Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo made the confirmation to Daily Tribune, saying that the multi-titled collegiate mentor had already signed a three-year deal with the Blue Eagles.

Quimpo said Alas will be a major boost to the Blue Eagles.

Aside from his experience after guiding Letran College to three National Collegiate Athletic Association titles, he is also a well-loved and respected figure in local basketball community, allowing the Blue Eagles to land quality recruits in the years to come.

Alas also won a title as head coach of the Manila Metrostars in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association and as assistant coach of Purefoods and Alaska in the Philippine Basketball Association.

His last stint in the PBA was with Phoenix Fuel Masters before moving to Zamboanga in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Quimpo said Alas is a strong addition to the coaching staff of Kiwi-American mentor Tab Baldwin that also has Sandy Arespacochaga and Gene Afable.

“His main job is to provide local flavor and veteran experience to the coaching staff,” said Quimpo, adding that Alas had already started training with the team.

“Coach Louie is a veteran and well-respected mentor. He can help us with the recruitment of some promising high school stars, especially now that a lot of our players are set to graduate.”

Quimpo added that Alas doesn’t have an official title.

“But being the most senior among coaches, I can say that he will play a very crucial role in Coach Tab’s staff,” Quimpo, also a former Ateneo Blue Eagle, said.

But the biggest recruit that Alas could bring to Ateneo is none other than his own son — Kieffer.

With a combination of speed, power and high basketball IQ, the young Alas is arguably the hottest recruit out of high school next year.

In fact, the 16-year-old playmaker from De La Salle Zobel emerged as part of the Mythical Team of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines juniors division after posting 20.36 points, 10.82 rebounds, 5.27 assists, and 1.27 steals per game despite still having a year left in high school.

He also finished second to Collins Akowe of National University Nazareth School in the race for Most Valuable Player.

Kieffer’s brilliance was not just limited in the UAAP.

He also emerged as Mythical Team member in the FIBA Asia U16 last year after averaging 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.6 points in seven games in the tournament.

With that, Alas made a lot of heads turn in the collegiate ranks.

In fact, several UAAP schools had already expressed interest in recruiting him, including University of the Philippines and De La Salle University.

But sources said the Alas family is leaning towards sending him to the United States to trek the path that is being taken by former Letran star Andy Gemao. After high school, he could either play in the UAAP seniors division, compete in Japan or Korea or simply stay in the US in a bid to play for a Division I program.

But Quimpo, the brain behind the recruitment of high school hotshot Jared Bahay, refused to speculate, saying that Alas’ hiring has nothing to do with the recruitment of his son.

“Kieffer is not yet eligible to be recruited for the (UAAP) seniors. I also heard that he’s going to the US to study,” he said, adding that elder Alas was hired based on his experience and ability not because of his son.

“But with his father already with us, I can say that we have quite an edge in the recruiting wars. Let’s see. It’s still too early to tell.”


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