Alab Pilipinas blasts Hong Kong anew in battle of giants




MANILA, Philippines – Different day, same results.

The San Miguel Alab Pilipinas once again drubbed Hong Kong Eastern, 88-76, to remain at first place in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Season 9 at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex on Sunday, January 27.

Renaldo Balkman led the way with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists for Alab, which remained sizzling at home with an unblemished 9-0 record for a 10-2 slate overall.

The 7-foot-3 PJ Ramos – who reigned freely in the 1st half as Hong Kong's 7-foot-5 behemoth Sam Deguara got saddled with two fouls in his first 6 minutes on the floor – flirted with a triple-double off 18 markers, 19 boards and 6 dimes.

Josh Urbiztondo filled in nicely for the injured Ray Parks Jr and finished with 16 points on a 4-of-8 (50%) clip from downtown.

After Hong Kong inched by two, 43-45, to begin the 3rd frame, the Alab home team blazed out to a huge 17-2 run, 62-45, ending with an Ethan Alvano triple at the 4:25 mark.

Urbiztondo then extended the gap to 17, 70-53, after back-to-back long bombs near the end of the quarter.

Alab's advantage got as high as 20, 75-55, off a Balkman layup to begin the 4th. Hong Kong never got within striking distance from there as Alab countered the Eastern offense with some timely buckets of their own to seal the deal.

Marcus Elliot led all scorers with 21 markers on a 9-of-19 (47%) shooting in 39 minutes on the floor. But his efforts weren't enough as Hong Kong fell to a 9-8 slate.

Deguara got limited to 7 points, all off free throws, with 12 boards and a game-high 5 blocks.

The Scores

Alab Pilipinas 88 – Balkman 20, Ramos 18, Urbiztondo 16, Domingo 10, Tiongson 10, Alvano 7, Rosser 4, Javelona 3, Sumalinog 0, Torres 0.

Hong Kong 76 – Elliott 21, Bassett 14, Lau 9, Xu 7, Deguara 7, Chan 5, Yang 5, Siu 5, Tang 3.

Quarters: 26-23, 45-41, 73-55, 88-76.