MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Alab Pilipinas hang on just enough after blowing multiple leads to beat the Mono Vampire Club, 86-84, for their league-high 6th straight win at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan, Wednesday, February 7.
The Thailand-based Vampires had their way in the early minutes in the first quarter with a quick 9-point lead, 16-7. But Alab responded with a massive 15-2 quarter-ending run to gain a 22-18 lead as star Vampire Michael Singletary could only watch his jumpers clank out left and right.
Alab kept rolling at the start of the second period with another 11-4 run to put them up 11, 33-22, highlighted by Justin Brownlee’s third triple of the evening and Lawrence Domingo’s hustle on the offensive boards and perimeter defense.
The gigantic 7-foot-5 Samuel Deguara finally woke up his team as Mono Vampire responded with a 16-5 run – 11 points from Deguara alone – to reset the game at a 38-all deadlock. To add insult to injury for the Filipino squad, it was Fil-Am Jason Brickman who drained the go-ahead bucket, sending Mono Vampire to a 40-38 lead at the half.
Apparently, Alab just needed a halftime breather, as the Philippine team broke out in the 3rd quarter with a 10-0 run, 48-40, punctuated by a crowd-pleasing alley-oop jam by Domingo from a Ray Parks lob. Singletary and Deguara did not let the home team run away with the game just yet as they slowly led Mono Vampire back to within one point, 60-59. Renaldo Balkman continued firing jumper after jumper as he led Alab to an 8-1 run and wrapped up the period with an 8-point lead, 68-60.
Renaldo Balkman put a performance of 31 pts, 13 rebs, 5 stls, and more importantly the game-winning basket to help San Miguel @AlabPilipinas get the win against Mono Vampire Basketball Club . Without a doubt, he is our AirAsia Player of the Game.#ABL8#MakeHistory pic.twitter.com/1ebizvtZ8V— ABL (@aseanbasketball) February 7, 2018
Alab caught a case of déjà vu as they once again blew a considerable lead and let the Vampires go ahead, 77-75, off a 14-4 run. A few back-and-forths later, Brownlee decided to pull up from downtown and sink a trey, waking up the Bulacan crowd and giving Alab a two-point lead, 79-77. Then with two minutes left in regulation, it was once again Josh Urbiztondo who came up clutch with a corner triple and put Alab up 5, 84-79.
However, after a Brickman jumper that closed the gap at 84-81, Singletary was left open from the corner and quickly drained a game-tying three. After the timeout, Brownlee and Balkman combined for a simple pick-and-roll play that gave Balkman an easy layup with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Down two points, Mono Vampire turned one last time to Singletary, but Brownlee was there just in time to block his game-winning corner three attempt. Balkman threw the ball in the air as time expired to send the home crowd happy once again.
Despite the huge size mismatch against Deguara, the 4th-tallest active basketball player in the world, the 6-foot-8 Balkman tallied a game-high 31 points and 13 rebounds to lead Alab to solo 3rd place in the league with a 9-4 record.
Brownlee added a near-triple-double of 16 points, 12 boards and 8 assists while shooting just 6/22 (27%) from the field. On the other end, Deguara led the Vampires’ multiple comeback efforts with a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double. Singletary added 19 points while playing all 40 minutes. Brickman finished with 11 points and a game-high 11 assists.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (86) – Balkman 31, Brownlee 16, Parks 10, Urbiztondo 8, Sumalinog 8, Domingo 6, Raymundo 4, Maierhofer 3, Hontiveros 0, Alabanza 0, Javelona 0.
Mono Vampire (84) – Deguara 21, Singletary 19, Zamar 12, Brickman 11, Kruatiwa 9, Ananti 7, Chanthachon 5, Klahan 0.
STANDINGS (as of Feb. 7, 2018)
Hong Kong Eastern 9-2
Chong Son Kung Fu 7-2
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 9-4
Mono Vampire 9-5
Singapore Slingers 7-7
Saigon Heat 5-5
CLS Knights Indonesia 3-8
Westports Malaysia Dragons 3-8
Formosa Dreamers 1-12
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