By Waylon Galvez
Head coach Yeng Guiao sees no hindrance in the contract renewal of Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, the 1-2 backcourt punch of the NLEX Road Warriors.
The two playmakers have expiring three-year deals this year — Alas by the end of August and Ravena on the last day of September. Guiao said he expects the two to stay with NLEX.
“I don’t see any obstacle to their contract renewal. I’m sure gusto din naman nila parehas mag-stay,” said Guiao in a telephone interview Monday with The Manila Bulletin.
“Numbers na lang sa tingin ko ang pag-uusapsan, konting pencil pushing na lang yan when it comes to their contract,” added Guiao, referring to the salaries of his top caliber guards.
The coaching staff and management of NLEX are expected to deliberate on the matter in the coming days.
Ravena signed his freshman deal back in 2017 after he was selected No. 2 overall in the Rookie Draft. This 45th season is the third and last of his contract.
One of the rising superstars in the pro league and a Gilas Pilipinas mainstay, Ravena is expected to command a maximum monthly salary of P420,000.
Alas, on the other hand, signed a three-year deal with NLEX also in 2017.
Originally drafted by Rain or Shine in 2014, he was dealt to TNT KaTropa prior to the season and was part of the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup champion team as a rookie. Alas was shipped to NLEX the following season.
Like his backcourt partner, Alas is expected to be offered a maximum deal.
Although they play similar positions as combo guards, Guiao was able to maximize their talent to help NLEX reach the semifinals of the 2017-18 Philippine Cup.
NLEX lost to the Magnolia Hotshots in six games of a best-of-seven series.
The next two seasons was a struggle for the Road Warriors as Alas suffered a knee injury, while Ravena missed more than 18 months over a FIBA-related concern.
Their return brought only good things for Guiao and the Road Warriors.
“Noong una hindi magka-tono yung laro nung dalawa, but they were able to complement each other’s game. Later in the eliminations and in the playoff (of the Philippine Cup) that’s when they‘ve gotten their acts together,” said Guiao on the Ravena-Alas tandem.
“We don’t want to waste or not be able to maximize that combination. On a personal level, for me they are not just a good pair on the court but off the court as well. They’ve taken responsibility for the team.
“They’re recognized, even by the veteran players on our team, as the team leaders of NLEX.”