MANILA, Philippines – Fil-Am hotshot Jeremiah Gray made the most of a bigger opportunity in the ASEAN Basketball League as the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas survived the OJ Mayo-led Taipei Fubon Braves for a 101-96 home win on Tuesday, January 7.
In the midst of an up-and-down season so far, the 23-year-old guard erupted for 17 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds on 6/11 shooting with no turnovers to boot. Prior to his eruption, Gray was just averaging 6.7 markers, 3.2 boards and 2.2 dimes in a limited bench role.
With the win, the second-seeded Philippine team rose to 5-2 for the season heading to a two-game road trip while the battle-tested Braves fell to 6-4.
“I just felt like, the other night, we got to such a sluggish start and it really kind of set the tone for the rest of the game kinda playing catch up,” said head coach Jimmy Alapag after the nail-biting win. “Last game, we had a couple of miscues at the end of the game, but I thought tonight, our energy was much better.”
“Our focus was much better and the guys really followed the game plan. Credit goes to them.”
After going down by as many as 8 points, 74-82, with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter after a Joseph Lin drive, Alab blazed right back with a 10-0 blitz to take an 86-84 lead after a crushing Sam Deguara jam at the 4:02 mark.
Gray then owned FilOil Flying V Centre as he lifted Alab up 5, 94-89, off a ballsy pull-up triple with 1:52 left in regulation.
Although Charles Garcia inched Fubon within two, 94-96, Gray silenced their comeback effort with one last trey, 99-94, with 58 ticks left.
Deguara bounced back from a forgettable 4-point, 7-rebound outing with a season-high 26 markers and 14 boards on a 9/11 clip while ABL Player of the Month Nick King added 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Despite the tough loss, Mayo put his best foot forward and led all scorers with 35 points, 9 dimes and 6 boards. Garcia chipped in 27 markers and 6 rebounds on 10/14 shooting.
Alab Pilipinas 101 – Deguara 26, King 22, Wyatt 21, Gray 17, Brickman 5, Caracut 5, Domingo 2, Vigil 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 1, Heading 0.
Taipei Fubon 96 – Mayo 35, Garcia 27, Esho 13, K. Lin 8, J. Lin 8, Hung 3, M. Lin 2, Tseng 0, Kuo 0, Weir Chern 0, C. Lin 0, Hung Hsing 0.
Quarters: 20-28, 44-44, 67-68, 101-96.