MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Alas was hit with a double whammy Sunday, March 18, after sustaining an apparent knee injury and witnessing the NLEX Road Warriors pushed to the brink of elimination.
Alas couldn't help but shed tears from the sidelines as his Road Warriors absorbed a 78-87 loss from the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 5 of their best-of-7 semifinals series at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Hotshots moved closer to returning to the Philippine Cup finals for the first time since the 2013-2014 PBA season with a 3-2 series lead. Another setback in Game 6 for NLEX will end its All-Filipino campaign.
"It’s very frustrating for my part, naiyak ako doon sa gilid ng bench kanina kasi gusto ko makatulong e," said Alas.
(It's very frustrating for my part. I cried at the bench a while ago since I wanted to help.)
With just 40 seconds into the first period, the 26-year-old went down the floor and grimaced in pain after hurting his knee during a drive.
Alas tried to suit up for the second half but instead returned to the court in street clothes and was reduced to a mere spectator.
"Pumunta kami ng dugout noong halftime para i-tape at i-ice [kaso] naramdaman ko 'yung pain dun so sabi ko hindi pala kaya."
(We went to the dugout at halftime to get my knees taped and ice but I felt pain and I realized I cannot play.)
The spitfire guard's absence took its toll on the Road Warriors as the Hotshots pulled away for good in the 4th quarter after seeing NLEX go toe-to-toe in the first 3 periods.
Without Alas, who is known as one of coach Yeng Guiao's closers, NLEX made only one field goal in the first 6 minutes of the payoff period.
The Road Warriors shot 6-of-22 in the 4th quarter for an atrocious 27.3%, a far cry from their 41.4% shooting in the first 3 frames.
Kiefer Ravena talks about how Kevin Alas’ early exit due to an apparent knee injury affected NLEX Road Warriors’ 78-87 Game 5 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots. #PBA2018 @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/oujIWBBWId — delfin dioquino (@dioquinodelfin) March 18, 2018
"Helpless, wala akong magawa. Kahit naman gusto kong lumaro noong second half, sabi nila 'wag na pilitin kasi baka lalong lumala. Watching them last minute, wala akong magawa," said Alas.
(Helpless, I cannot do anything. Even if I want to play in the second half, they told me that I should not force it because it might get worse. Watching them last minute, I cannot do anything.)
Alas said he will be meeting top orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas Monday, March 19, to see if there is anything serious about his injury.
NLEX will try to extend the series to a do-or-die Game 7 when it faces the Hotshots for Game 6 on Tuesday, March 20, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.