Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Turning up aces: For Louie Alas, if his sons Kevin & Jun Jun are drafted, it means fulfilling his lost PBA dream.

This appears on the PBA website.

Turning up aces:
For Louie Alas, if his sons Kevin & Jun Jun are drafted, it means fulfilling his lost PBA dream.
by rick olivares pic by mon rubio


Jun Jun Alas backed up 6’4” Andrew Avillanoza down the post. Alas, at six-feet flat but at a hefty 118 kg. of pure brute force moved his taller guard like a bulldozer going through a cement door.


Avillanoza threw his arms up and Alas threw  jump hook that was all net.

A quiet cheer rose up from the far side of the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City where the coaches of PBA team Alaska gave assistant coach Louie Alas high and low fives.

The elder Alas kept quiet and refused to give in to a smile. But deep inside, the long-time coach was brimming with pride but hoping against hope.

His second oldest son, Kevin, seemed to be a shoo-in Top 10 pick for the upcoming Gatorade PBA Draft. Jun Jun, the older brother, was not. Both had played for the Letran Knights with Kevin the star point guard after the graduation of RJ Jazul while Jun Jun was one of the team’s several bruisers.

During Louie’s college heyday, he was the star combo guard for the Adamson Falcons. In 1990, he was selected by the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs in the draft. Unfortunately, he suffered a career ending knee injury during practice. It took a while for him to get over his misfortune. It was a time, when practically a ACL injury meant it was all over for a basketball player.

Alas dove head long into coaching to stay in the game that he dearly loved.

He won titles with Letran and also coached Mobiline in the PBA. Now working as an assistant first with Luigi Trillo and now with Alex Compton with the Alaska Aces, for the first time since 1990, he feels his stomach rumbling with excitement and nervousness. But he doesn’t say so except to the close friends he confides in.

Should Kevin or even Jun Jun be drafted and go on to play in the PBA, they will fulfill a dream that the father once had. He will live that dream through his sons.

While coaching them in college in Letran, they went to the NCAA Finals two years ago where they fell in three games to eventual champion, powerhouse San Beda. It was the swansong for the Alas family with the school that had been home to them for well over a decade. Kevin was able to experience some championships with NLEX in the D-League as well as with Sinag, the national team that participates in the Southeast Asian Games.

“I know papa will be proud,” said Kevin during a late night dinner at North Park in Little Baguio, San Juan City four days before the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine. “Excited din siya.”

His two older sons aren’t the only ones Louie keeps tabs on. There’s his third son, Kenneth, who at 6’4” is still growing. Kenneth chose a different path opting to play for rival San Beda Red Cubs instead of the Letran Squires.

“It’s his choice, says Liza, the mother of the basketball-loving brood. “So we support him and his decisions.”

Completing the “starting five” of Alas basketball is the fourth and youngest son, Kiefer who is beginning to learn the game.

“The game has been good to us,” said Coach Louie while watching his sons engage in the competitive drills and scrimmage put together by colleagues Bong Ramos and Bai Cristobal. “And hopefully, it will be good as well for my other two sons.”

Then the assembled crowd of coaches, fans, agents, and media roared. Jun Jun Alas scored another bucket.

This time Louie Alas allowed himself a smile.

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