MANILA, Philippines – For the second time this ABL season, Filipino fans were treated as Alab Pilipinas’ 7-foot-3 bruiser PJ Ramos went head-to-head with Hong Kong Eastern’s 7-foot-5 Maltese monster Sam Deguara.
However, much like the first meeting, it didn’t go the Eastern’s way as the defending ABL champs routed them anew, 88-76, at the Sta Rosa Sports Complex last Sunday, January 27.
Still, that didn’t stop Deguara from trying to get under the skin of Ramos, as evidenced by a quick shove just 22 seconds into the game that evidently fired up the Alab giant.
Ramos got the last laugh though, as he feasted his way to an 18-point, 19-rebound outing after Deguara got tagged with two quick fouls in his first 6 minutes on the floor.
“Sometimes he plays dirty, but I’m a dirtier person,” Ramos declared after the game. “I’m not even worried about it. Things got heated up at the end of the game. He almost injured [Renaldo] Balkman. So as one of the leaders of the team, I got to protect my players.”
Instead of Ramos, it was Balkman who lost his cool and had to be restrained in the late moments of the game after a hip check by Deguara.
“He was trying to get under my skin, but he’s got to do a lot better than that,” Ramos continued. “He tried, but you can see it in the box scores. You saw my points and my rebounds. I can play inside and outside. Any team has got to be prepared.”
Apart from a lot of trash-talk, the former Mono Vampire stalwart only managed 7 markers, all off free-throws, and 12 rebounds while going 0/4 from the field.
“I’m just trying to give the fans a show,” Ramos said. “That’s what I’m here for and that’s what they’re here for, for me to be happy and for them to be happy. I’m just trying to make them happy as we play and get them in the game every step of the way.”
Evidently, cooler heads always prevail as the reigning ABL champions are still on top of the standings with a 10-2 record. Deguara’s Hong Kong, meanwhile, is mired in the middle of the pack with a 9-8 slate. – Rappler.com