Kevin Alas during the PBA Draft. Photo by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Should Rain or Shine be able to keep All-Star guard Paul Lee with the team, the former Rookie of the Year will make an "explosive" tandem with rookie guard Kevin Alas, predicts head coach Yeng Guiao.
Alas – and ninth overall pick Jericho Cruz – were both taken as "insurance picks" should Lee get his wish and be traded from the Elasto Painters. But Guiao is not counting out a scenario wherein Lee stays and teams up with Alas in the Rain or Shine backcourt.
"'Yung role ni Kevin would be significant. Just in case we're not able to sign up Paul, then he would play a big role in the team," said Guiao. "But even if we sign up Paul, I think Kevin Alas and Paul Lee at the backcourt is certainly an explosive combination."
"So either way, maganda," he said.
Alas was teary-eyed after getting taken with the second pick, and later admitted feeling some pressure knowing that he was chosen as insurance should Lee walk.
"Personally, malaking pressure para sa akin 'yun, pero at the same time, magandang pressure," said Alas. "Kailangang paghandaan ko 'yung gagawin ko."
Guiao and Rain or Shine management are still clarifying matters with Lee, who is fulfilling his duties with the national team in Spain.
In the meantime, they will give Alas and Cruz a chance to show their talents. Guiao said the team can make an offer for Alas, but Cruz and other rookies "will have to go through the process."
Guiao admitted that they did not plan to take Cruz with the ninth pick, but opted to do so when they saw that the former Adamson Falcon was still available.
"We've seen him play. He's a solid guard, he will fit our style, so we took him," said Guiao. "We want to give him a chance to show his wares in practice. Tingnan namin sa ensayo kung magf-fit siya sa team, then maybe we will decide after that."