Alas formally bids Letran goodbye; Ateneo next?

Effective this December 31, Louie Alas is no longer the head coach of Letran men’s basketball team. And that clearly paves the way for his possible stint on the Ateneo bench.

“Actually, isang mahabang proseso ‘to,” was how Alas, 49, described his resignation that was formally accepted recently by the school management, led by president Fr. Tamerlane Lana.

“Bago pa nga magsimula ang (NCAA) season (88), pinag-i-isipan ko na ‘to (resignation). But my wife told me to finish the season para sa mga bata. Matagal-tagal rin kasi ‘yung mga naging preparations namin.”

Despite a rocky start as the season’s host, the Knights turned their fortunes around in the second round, overhauled a twice-to-beat disadvantage against second-ranked San Sebastian College-Recoletos before bowing to eventual three-time defending champion San Beda in an epic finals battle that went the full three-game route.

[RELATED: Alas steps down as Letran coach]

Alas, however, admitted it’s his somehow-unsteady relationship with his two sons Kevin and Junjun–not their humbling defeat to the Red Lions–that proved to be one of the prevailing factors, saying: “Pakiramdam ko kasi nasosobrahan na sila sa’kin minsan. Parang nasasaktan sila sa tuwing napagsasabihan ko sila during the game. Though hindi naman nila sinasabi sa’kin, pero nararamdaman ko.

“Lahat naman ng players ko napagsasalitaan ko and that’s part of the coaching. Ayoko naman isipin na porket anak ko sila, hindi na ako magsasalita sa kanila. Pangit naman tignan ‘yung ganon ‘di ba?” he added.

In his 12-year stint with the Intramuros-based squad, Alas compiled a 125-64 win-loss record, made 11 Final Four appearances, reached the Last Dance five times and clinched three titles.

“Halos kadikit na nga ng pangalan ko ang Letran. Kaya it’s really hard to resign, lalo na talagang malaking parte na ng buhay ko ang Letran. It’s an enriching stay and it’s also a habit that is hard to break, ika nga,” added Alas, who currently serves as an assistant to Alaska coach Luigi Trillo in the pro league.

“’Yun ang immediate plan ko–to serve full-time with Luigi. Pero tutulungan ko pa rin ang team (Letran) to make a smooth transition, specifically ‘yung sa academics ng mga bata. Pwede naman akong maging consultant sa kanila next season kung OK lang naman rin sa mai-a-appoint na next coach,” he added.

According to him, his assistants Kris Reyes and Tino Pinat will handle the team when they see action in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League.

Intriguingly, Alas has suddenly surfaced as one of the prime candidates for the head coaching post of the Blue Eagles, who have been left by coach Norman Black after completing a ‘five-peat’ in the UAAP.

“I’m very lucky and at the same time nakakatuwa dahil bibihira lang ang napapasama sa wishlist ng Ateneo. Pero hindi pa ako makapag-react dahil wala pa rin naman formal offer. In due time, kung magkakatotoo man ‘yan, magsasalita naman ako,” he stated.

Whether he’s bound for another school remains to be seen but Alas was quick to express his gratitude to the Letran community, saying: “Ang laki talaga ng natulong sakin ng Letran. Halos lahat ng natutunan ko as a coach, dahil sa kanila ‘yun. Very supportive rin naman kasi ‘yung mga pari pati na ‘yung mga alumni. Kaya nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa kanila.”

More College Hoops:

Ronnie and Benjie: a winning tandem

Nash Racela: FEU stint a 'golden opportunity'


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