MANILA, Philippines – No Justin Brownlee, no problem.
Despite missing the services of its returning World Import for the second straight game, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas defended home court with an emphatic 99-79 win against the Saigon Heat at Sta Rosa, Laguna on Sunday, February 23. (READ: Justin Brownlee now missing in action from Alab Pilipinas)
With the win, the Philippine team kept its hold of 2nd place in the ASEAN Basketball League with a 10-6 record while the Heat fizzled further down at the cellar with a 3-11 slate.
Brownlee, who missed his would-be debut in Malaysia last week after failing to catch his flight, again turned out to be a no-show.
After a back-and-forth 1st quarter, Alab leaned on its local stars Jason Brickman and Law Domingo for a 31-point 2nd period en route to a 56-36 lead.
That gap stretched as far ahead as 24 points, 72-48, off a Nick King layup at the 2:55 mark of the 3rd.
It was still all Alab in the final frame, as Domingo drove the final nail in the coffin off a layup for a 97-76 lead with 2:37 left in regulation.
Domingo led all locals with a season-high 18 points on an efficient 8-of-10 clip with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks while imports Sam Deguara and King erupted for 23 and 20 markers, respectively.
Heat import Sam Thompson went swinging in the loss with a game-high 36 points while local guard Dang Tran chipped in 18 markers off the bench.
With Brownlee's return still in question, Alab will fly next to Vietnam on Sunday, March 1, for a rematch with the Heat.
Alab Pilipinas 99 – Deguara 23, King 20, Domingo 18, Brickman 10, Vigil 8, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Heading 7, Rangel 5.
Saigon Heat 79 – Thompson 36, Tran 18, White 13, Taylor 7, Q. Nguyen 3, Dierker 2, Young 0, Dinh 0, Waale 0, T. Nguyen 0.
Quarters: 25-17, 56-36, 75-56, 99-79.