MANILA, Philippines – Alab Pilipinas came through in fine style with their first-ever franchise playoff win in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), downing the Saigon Heat, 110-100, at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Easter Sunday, April 1.
However, rookie head coach Jimmy Alapag was far from content with the historic win, even after guys like Bobby Ray Parks dropped 24 points and Justin Brownlee recorded a near triple-double with 22, 11 and 8. Even the banged-up Renaldo Balkman recorded 17 points and a game-high 20 rebounds with 11 on the offensive end.
“Obviously, I’m happy that we won,” he said after the game. “But I don’t think I did a very good job of preparing us for tonight. We were far from sharp as we needed to be.”
“I’ll be doing a lot of homework this week in preparation for Game 2,” he emphasized.
Alapag is mostly referring to the club’s defense on Saigon import Maxie Esho, who dropped 42 points on 10/13 (77%) shooting with 6/8 (75%) triples and 11 rebounds for the entire 40 minutes of the game.
“Esho was great tonight,” he added. “We have to do a better job scheme-wise to limit him. I mean, 42 [points] – I think he only missed 3 shots. Again, I was really happy with our guys’ effort but again, I thought we were far, far from the playoff sharpness that we need to be in, and that falls on me.”
Akeem Scott and Fil-Am Michael Williams also chipped in 19 apiece while Moses Morgan added 16. All in all, while Alab shot a crisp 49% on the field as a team, they also gave up 49% on the other end, including 13/32 (42%) from downtown. However, Alab did outrebound the Heat, 56-30, and outnumbered them too on assists by half, 26-13.
Clearly, Coach Jimmy wants more from his guys on both ends of the floor as he looks to complete the sweep next week, April 7, at the CIS Arena in Saigon, Vietnam. – Rappler.com
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