Once again in Ynares Sports Center, Antipolo, Kevin Alas donned a protective mask in NLEX’s game against defending PBA Philippine Cup champion TNT on Thursday, June 16, after sustaining a hairline fracture on his nose in a Monday practice accident with Paul Varilla.
This incident is part of Coach Yeng Guiao’s concern, as the NLEX starting point guard would have to acclimatize to playing with a protective mask on, especially with the opposing team getting into a solid rhythm of adjustment in their attack without Rookie of the Year, Mikey Williams. As the Road Warriors anticipate a rebound from a 100 to 92 setback to San Miguel last week, Alas has chosen to play against the Tropang Giga. To minimize further harm to his nasal injury, he had to wear a protective mask during the game.
Guiao’s tremendous mental and physical grit shone through when he received a tongue-lashing after a botched play. Due to a botched alley-oop nine minutes into the fourth quarter, expanding the Tropang Giga lead to 80 to 73, the anxious coach gave the player a verbal bombardment, which the player took as inspiration.
Alas led an NLEX comeback from a 12 point deficit to defeat Tropang Giga in the fourth quarter with 11 points. NLEX had an 88 to 87 lead with less than 40 seconds remaining, defeating TNT by a score of 90 to 89. Alas scored 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in the game, giving the Road Warriors a safe 2 to 1 record.
Alas was suffering from a nasal fracture throughout the nerve-wracking game, one
of the most common facial injuries caused by direct impacts in contact sports or falls, and the reason for Alas’ protective mask. A nasal fracture can harm both bone and cartilage, necessitating rapid medical attention or surgery in some cases. Damage to the cartilage, for example, can result in a blood collection inside the nose. If the blood is not drained promptly, it can lead to an abscess or a permanent deformity that prevents the nose from functioning properly. It may induce tissue death and nose collapse. Despite suffering from this injury that might have led to worse, Alas pushed through, further proving his mental and physical toughness.
Nasal fractures account for over 60% of all maxillofacial injuries sustained in sports; nevertheless, there are no current standards for urgent sideline management of these injuries.
A list of super star basketball players who have rocked the nose guard mask include NBA players such as the late Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Richard Hamilton.