Kevin Alas, who has known newly installed NLEX coach Frankie Lim for more than two decades, sees enough reasons to expect a smooth transition under a new mentor.
And after helping his team win its first two games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Alas hopes that the Road Warriors can produce more victories with Lim officially manning the sidelines.
“It’s nice to be on the same side with Coach Frankie,” Alas said after helping NLEX complete a 105-102 comeback victory over Blackwater on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alas was part of the Letran squad coached by his father, Louie Alas, that lost all seven meetings to Lim and the mighty San Beda Red Lions. from 2009 to 2011.
They will be on the same side now, after Lim was appointed head coach by NLEX management, a move precipitated by the departure of coach Yeng Guiao, who eventually returned to Rain or Shine.
“And hopefully, God-willing, we can produce more wins,” added Alas, the NLEX star whose father and Lim were part of coach Eric Altamirano’s staff at Purefoods during the franchise’s run to the 1997 All-Filipino crown.
Lim has been running the Road Warriors’ practices already but it was Adonis Tierra who called the shots during their first two wins, and who mapped a turnaround late in Friday’s fourth quarter. NLEX held the Bossing scoreless in that stretch until the final seconds and scored 14 straight points to climb out of a 90-97 deficit.
Tierra is now passing the baton to Lim, glad to have steered NLEX to a share of the early lead with the visiting Bay Area Dragons.
“The team is excited,” Tierra said in Filipino. “The level of intensity the past three days under Coach Frankie has been great. I’m happy with the players because they were able to execute his plays.”
“So far, things are going well for the team, but it remains to be seen when he finally joins us in our next games,” said Kevin Alas as a difficult October schedule awaits NLEX.
After Lim’s official debut against struggling Phoenix on October 8, NLEX will have to go through perennial heavyweights Magnolia, TNT and San Miguel Beer.
Import Earl Clark has so far proven he has what it takes to lead NLEX past that backbreaking schedule.
Clark finished with 38 points and grabbed 25 rebounds as he kept NLEX in the thick of things even when Blackwater led by as many as 16, and was in command for most of the way.
Robert Bolick led NorthPort to its own version of a comeback in the second game with a career-high 44 points that helped the Batang Pier overcome Johnny O’Bryant and the Meralco Bolts, 101-95, in overtime.
Bolick scored 22 in a row in one stretch, helping NorthPort bounce back from a recent stinging 105-104 loss to the Bay Area Dragons on a three-pointer by Myles Powell at the buzzer. “At least, it went our way this time,” Bolick said in Filipino. He added six rebounds and seven assists as the Batang Pier laid to waste O’Bryant’s 30 points, 22 rebounds and five assists. O’Bryant faded in the stretch as the Bolts failed to protect their 20-point lead. INQ
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