MANILA, Philippines – Louie Alas barely bothered to celebrate after earning his first PBA win as a head coach in more than a decade last December 27.
Moments after steering Phoenix to a masterful 125-102 rout of KIA Picanto for their first win of the PBA Philippine Cup – and his first head coaching win since 2001 – Alas was already thinking about their next assignment.
"Ang iniisip ko agad is (our game) against NLEX," said Alas, referring to their showdown against the Road Warriors, scheduled for January 7 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Alas, who was a longtime deputy of Alex Compton in Alaska before taking the Phoenix post, has reason to be concerned about NLEX. The Road Warriors have won their first two games of the conference, with rookie guard Kiefer Ravena living up to his billing.
"Kung ano ang sistema namin offensively, almost the same ng NLEX," Alas observed. "Run and gun. So we just have to play much tougher defense against NLEX."
The game will also pit Alas against his son, Kevin Alas. The Phoenix coach is already looking at Kevin's partnership with Ravena as one of the problems that the Fuel Masters will have to solve on Sunday.
"Before… 'pag si Kevin na-trap mo, wala na masyadong hinahanap," he noted. "Ngayon, ang dami, especially si Kiefer and Larry Fonacier."
Thus, it is no surprise that Alas is thinking of multiple ways to stop the Road Warriors, who have scored an average of 117 points per game in their first two assignments, while shooting 49.5% from the field.
"Ang dami kong defensive scheme na pwedeng ilagay," said Alas, who favors an aggressive defensive style. "Hindi pwedeng isang scheme lang."
His son, Kevin, should expect to be a focal point of those defensive schemes, said the coach.
"This time, hanggang sa parking area, ita-trap ko," Alas said in jest.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)