Friday marked Khapri Alston’s first-ever PBA game, and he immediately showed what he can bring to the table.
The American cager finished with 38 points on 63-percent shooting from the field, on top of 22 rebounds, four assists, and three steals to power the Columbian Dyip past the Alaska Aces, 117-110, in the opening salvo of the 2019 Governors’ Cup.
“I feel good about it. Felt good for my first time playing here in the Philippines, in the PBA,” said Alston.
Coach Johnedel Cardel had nothing but good things to say about the 25-year-old. “We have a good import. Kasi yun ang wala namin, ‘di ba? Yung [player na] going into the post, dump to him and he’ll score, he’ll pass,” said the bench strategist.
“He’s very smart even though he’s only 6-foot-3 1/2, but he plays like 6’10. Yan ang gusto ko sa kanya. He’s a very down-to-earth person, tahimik. Pasahan o ‘di mo pasahan, he will play hard, he will talk to the team, and the locals love him.”
Still, Cardel believes that Alston can still play better once he adjusts to the PBA style of play.
“Meron pa. Actually, in the fourth quarter, he didn’t score more points… Siyempre he’s adjusting to the Filipino way of the game,” he said. “I told him it’s a very physical game. This is [the] PBA, it’s different from the other countries’ league.”
Now that his first game is in the books, Alston aims to acclimatize with everything else the league. And he’s also looking to return to his usual playing weight — Alston is currently at 260 lbs, and he plans to get at 240.
“I’m trying to get it down,” said Alston, who’s been playing professionally since 2017. “I took two weeks off prior to playing here because I was playing so long and I had to spend some time with my son and my family.
“My weight picked up a little bit, but I’m working very hard. The coaches and my teammates are pushing me to continue to get my weight down.”
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