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Sleeping Giant Alves in Prime Position

By: Justin Felisko August 11, 2014@ 07:00:00 PM

Silvano Alves enters the second half in fourth place.

PUEBLO, Colo. – With four days remaining until the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PBR.com continues its look at the Top 5 riders in the world standings before the stretch run to the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals officially begins.

Today, we look at two-time World Champion Silvano Alves, who is currently fourth in the world standings.

FIRST HALF RECAP: Alves recovered from an uncharacteristic slow start to finish fourth in the world standings with 30 qualified rides, a riding percentage of 48.39 percent and has put himself in striking distance of becoming just the second man to win three PBR World Championships. After not notching a qualified ride in three of the first 10 events, Alves slowly began to march his way back up the standings and finished the first half with Top-5 finishes in four of the final five events. It took him 15 events to post his first Top 5 of the season.

Alves, who overcame an early-season right shoulder injury, has yet to win a BFTS event this year after recording three wins in three of the past four seasons. Yet it has never been about the showcase ride or event-winning ride when it comes to the Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, native. Consistency has always been key for Alves. By the end of the first half his steadiness returned and he finished with at least one ride in the final eight events.

Two-time World Champion Justin McBride believes Alves’ strong finish in the first half is only a sign of things to come for the second half.

“He was riding absolutely horrible by his standards – by anybody’s standards,” McBride said. “He was riding bad and now he is in a great position to win a third.”

Fellow CBS color commentator and nine-time World Champion Ty Murray believes Alves may be ready to strike at any moment.

“He is that sleeping giant,” Murray said. “He is always a threat. He is the master and as good as anybody I have ever seen in my career at avoiding injury and staying healthy. That is a big tool in your tool chest if you are able to do that. ”

J.W. Hart says the other contenders better be careful and not forget about Alves waiting in the wings.

“He is sneaky, he will come up behind them and bite them, especially if one of them top guys stumbles a bit, doesn’t ride so well or gets hurt,” Hart said.

BEST FIRST HALF PERFORMANCE: The 26-year-old was at his greatest during the final five events of the first half. In Billings, Montana, he reminded everyone just how good he is when it comes to the top contenders by going a season-high 4-for-4 to finish second overall to Cody Nance. He also earned his lone Built Ford Tough Championship Round win of the first half with an 89.75-point effort aboard King Buck. Earlier in the year, Alves rode Rango for 89.5 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Fresno, California.

FIRST HALF TOP RIDE: 89.75 points on King Buck in Billings, Montana.

THRIVING AT HOME: Alves appears to have become rejuvenated this summer in Brazil and is back to riding as good as ever. He posted a Top-5 finish in all five PBR Brazil events he participated in and rode 17-of-19 bulls (89.47 percent) he attempted. Alves’ best finish (second place) came in the first American event in June after going 4-for-4. During the second round of that event he registered 91.75 points on Twitter. He would post two more 90-point rides at PBR Brazil events, riding General for 90 points and Malibu for 90.25 points at the Sao Jose do Rio Preto event.

THE KING OF CONSISTENCY: The 5-foot-7-inch bull rider rode at a 60.19 percent and 69 percent clip the two years that he won the world title. Alves begins the second half with a 48.39 percent riding average, but only trails Guilherme Marchi by 895.69 points after a very consistent summer. If he begins the second half by recording rides every week it is a safe bet to hear Alves name being right in the mix at World Finals.

“He still has to be one of the odds on favorites when you talk about the Top 5 guys,” Murray said. “Silvano is one of those guys that doesn’t get streaky really. He is always pretty much right there and that is what makes him so tough. He is one of those guys, he don’t go away.”

McBride and Hart expect Alves to stick to his normal plan of trying to win his third world title by riding every bull for 8 seconds, regardless of score.

“He will do the exact same thing he does,” McBride said. “He is going to rely on the guys in front of him to have a misstep in there. He is going to stay consistent. He is going to have low scores and he is going to be consistent with it.”

Hart said, “He is going to ride them and let the scores catch him up in the end. He is betting against everybody else, instead of himself.”

Unlike last year, Alves will have to work his way back toward the front of the standings. When he last won the world title in 2012, he took over the top spot in the world standings with five events to go and in 2011 he was the top-ranked rider for the final 10 weeks of the season.

This year it is possible Alves and others will be jockeying for the world title come the last day of the World Finals.

Murray said that Alves has proven his long game approach can result in world titles, but he thinks Alves could be that much more dominant if he were to strive for a little bit more than just making the whistle.

“He could make it where it is not even a competition if he would swing for the fences a little more and think of winning first a little more than just getting scores every time,” Murray explained.

When push comes to shove, Alves will more than likely be right in the mix for a world title for the fourth consecutive year come October.

“He is going to be one we are talking about on Sunday,” McBride said. “I really think so. He is going to be a player. It is going to come down to the wire for him on Sunday.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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