THREE-TIME CHAMP ALVES IN SEARCH OF FINALS TITLE

Silvano Alves won the 2014 World Finals event title last year. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.

By: Justin Felisko October 24, 2015@ 03:45:00 PM

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Silvano Alves is 2-for-3 and sitting second in the World Finals event standings.
  • Alves posted his highest-scored ride in over a year when he rode Rebel Yell to win Round 3 on Friday night with 89 points.
  • The 27-year-old could become the second rider in history to win back-to-back Finals event titles.

IN THIS ARTICLE

 

LAS VEGAS – Silvano Alves threw his free arm with authority and screamed into the CBS Sports Network cameras with a greater sense of confidence and emotion on Friday night than he has shown since fracturing his left hip in April.

Alves the giant may have returned at the most opportune time on Friday night inside the Thomas & Mack Center and the rest of the field of World Finals event title contenders better watch out.

The three-time World Champion rode Rebel Yell for a round-winning 89 points, and he now has two qualified rides for the first time since undergoing surgery for that fractured left hip.

Not only was the ride a huge motivational boost for the 27-year old from Pilar do Sul, Brazil, but it clearly puts Alves in position to potentially win a second consecutive World Finals event title.

At the start of the week, Alves, who has been dealing with inflammation in his hip following the surgery, appeared nonchalant and disinterested in anything outside of making it out of the Finals healthy and turning the page toward 2016.

Yet what began as a confidence boosting 87.25-point ride on SwashbucklerThursday turned into an emphatic performance on Friday.

The ride is his highest since covering Rango for 92.25 points in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sept. 6, 2014.

“This is good for my motivation, but it is more because I feel good,” Alves said. “There is no pain and I feel well. I feel a lot better. My legs feel stronger and better from when I got hurt.

Following the BFTS event in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Alves immediately went home to Brazil to meet with doctors and receive treatment on his hip.

“I wasn’t angry or nervous about coming back from the injury, I have been more anxious,” Alves said through Miriaham Contreras during a pre-World Finals interview.

When asked on Tuesday morning if he could win the 2015 World Finals event title, Alves was unsure.

“Maybe,” Alves said before shrugging.

Now, Alves appears to truly believe he has a chance at putting together a run at the Finals title.

“I like riding at this event,” he said when posed with the question once again. “There are a lot of people. There is more adrenaline and more focus. My family brings good support for me. All of my fans support me. American and Brazilian fans like me, everybody has come here to see me do well. I am ready.”

Alves still sits one ride behind current event average leaders Cooper Davisand Bonner Bolton, but if Friday night was any evidence of if Alves has a small run left in him this season, then the two rookies may have one of the most consistent bull riders in World Finals history breathing down their neck on Championship Sunday.

He is siting second in the event though with 240 points, just 60 points behind Davis.

Alves would become the second rider in PBR history to win back-to-back World Finals event titles and the fourth rider to have won the event multiple times.

Alves appeared to begin to slowly regain trust in his hip during Round 1 on Wednesday night before he was bucked off by Red Moon in 7.57 seconds.

Two-time World Champion Justin McBride said Davis has been riding lights out this week in Las Vegas, but if the rookie slips up the door certainly will be open for Alves and world leader J.B. Mauney.

“Here is the thing, Cooper Davis has to mess up first for either one of these titans (J.B. Mauney or Alves) to be involved in the Finals race,” McBride said. “You have to think when it gets down to Championship Sunday those monsters are the guys that can ride.”

Before then, Alves will first have to take care of business on Bad to the Bone.

Alves selected Bad to the Bone with the first pick of the Round 4 bull draft late Friday night.

He heads into Round 4 with the highest-career riding percentage (81.82 percent) at the World Finals among active riders. Alves has only been tossed onto the Thomas & Mack Center dirt six times in his five-year career.

World leader J.B. Mauney was on the back of the bucking chutes for Alves’ ride on Friday.

“He made a good bull ride,” Mauney said. “I was out there and watched it. It was a real good bull ride.”

McBride believes Alves has found his old form this week in Vegas.

“I’ve really been on this hip injury because I am not willing to say Silvano is not a great bull rider,” McBride said. “I have been trying to make an excuse for him. I have been on that wagon. To me, if he says mentally I am good to go now, then I am right back with him because whenever this guy is ready to go he can be the best.

“He can just flat out ride.”  

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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