Quick! What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Talk N’ Text?
If you thought “aging”, “over-the-mill”, “past-their-prime” or just plain “old”, I wouldn’t have blamed you. After all, we’re talking about a core of a team built around guys like Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Larry Fonacier, Harvey Carey, Ryan Reyes and Jason Castro, some of whom may not be that old number wise, but have registered a lot of miles on their wheels due to the sheer amount of playoff games and national team duties over the last few years.
The good news for the flagship team of the MVP group is that they just happened to “luck” into a do-it all guard that goes by the name of Kevin Louie Alas.
Back in August, there was no doubt that Globalport would select Stanley Pringle with the first pick in the 2014 PBA draft. The real mystery came with the second pick, which belonged to Rain or Shine. Amidst all the confusion with regards to incumbent star guard Paul Lee’s contract, ROS decided to select Kevin with their pick just to hedge their position.
As fate would have it, Lee eventually re-upped with the Elasto Painters and with a surplus of guards under their stable, ROS decided to ship Alas away for a future first round pick. After a series of transactions, Kevin found his way to the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters.
There probably couldn’t be a more perfect scenario for the spit fire guard out of Letran. Coach Jong Uichico has decided to revert the TNT offense back to the dribble drive sets that former coach Chot Reyes implemented back when he was calling the shots for TNT. This bodes well for Alas, as his game is built on penetration and attacking the basket.
In three games in the pros, Alas has put up some pretty solid numbers coming off the bench behind Castro. With Jimmy Alapag still resting, Alas has had ample opportunities to create with the ball and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s currently averaging 9.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg and 1.0 apg on 16 min per game – not too shabby for a rookie point guard.
While Kevin hasn’t particularly finished well on drives to the basket (just 1 for 4), he has shown a knack for drawing fouls, as he’s drawn 3 fouls while attacking the basket. He’s also been setting up his teammates on his forays to the basket, as he’s registered 7 potential assists on his drive possessions.
He’s also shown some craftiness with the pick and roll, as his shiftiness has helped him elude defenders and keep them off balance. In three games, he’s scored on 2 of 5 attempts when using a ball screen. If there’s something he needs to work on though, it’s finding teammates on pick & roll sets, as he’s only hit a teammate twice when coming off the ball screen.
Kevin has also shown a decent outside shot, as he’s hit 2/4 pull up jumpers, while canning 3/5 catch-and-shoot type of shots. The sample size is pretty small but if he can keep up this type of shooting, he will be a terror for opposing defenses in the coming years. Do you go under on ball screens and risk him lighting you up from 3? Or do you chase and go over, allowing Kevin to gain momentum and penetrate to the basket?
The best part of this scenario is that Kevin gets to learn from all the veteran guards on a loaded TNT squad. If he wants to brush up on his penetration and ball-handling, he can watch and learn first-hand from the “best guard in Asia, Jason Castro. Want to improve his shooting technique? No problem, Jimmy and Larry have his back. Want to be a lock down defender? Who better to learn from than Ryan Reyes?!
The future is bright for Kevin and in the best of scenarios, he could be a hybrid of all those guards. Now it’s up to him to put in the work and prove that he is a worthy candidate to be the heir to the TNT throne.