Westports Malaysia Dragons stun streaking Alab Pilipinas in ABL
MANILA, Philippines – The Westports Malaysia Dragons pulled off a stunning upset against the red-hot San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, breaking their league-high 8-game winning streak, 90-89, at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia, Sunday, March 4.
Both teams did not give up ground in the first quarter as they traded multiple leads. As per usual, it was the import tandem of Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee who led the Alab charge and tried to stop the relentless assault of Chris Eversley. Near the end of the quarter, Balkman scored 4 straight points to break the 22-all tie and end the period with a 26-22 lead – already a game-high advantage.
Early in the second quarter, Brownlee silenced the Malaysia crowd with a thunderous jam for the 31-26 lead. After a triple by the Dragons’ Tian Kuek, Balkman answered right back with a three of his own to extend the lead, 34-29. However, Eversley came back barreling for his buckets and tied the game 34-all. This gritty show went on for the rest of the quarter, where Balkman nailed an easy layup to send Alab to halftime with a 47-44 lead.
Eversley kept on gunning for Westports entering the second half, resulting in a big 53-47 lead. However, Alab came flaming right back with an 8-0 run ending in a Brownlee slam to put them back up, 55-53. Once again, both teams fought tooth-and-nail with the Philippine squad ending the quarter with a slim 4-point lead, 69-65.
The action in the final frame reached a tipping point with 4 minutes remaining. With Alab still leading the way, 84-80, Bryan Davis and Joshua Munzon combined for a crucial 5-0 run ending in a steal and dunk for Munzon, 85-84. However, like many other times before, Joshua Urbiztondo once again pulled up for a clutch corner triple to put Alab ahead, 87-84.
After a few more tussles, Munzon drained a triple from way outside with 27 seconds left to put Malaysia up 2, 89-87. Balkman then promptly answered with a game-tying jumper, 89-all. Brownlee fished a foul with 21 seconds left but proceeded to miss both free-throws. On the other end, Munzon drained one of two freebies for the 90-89 lead. With no timeouts remaining, the ball was passed to a wide-open Dondon Hontiveros for the game-winning triple, but the ball clanked in and out as the Malaysia crowd erupted in celebration for the huge upset against the 2nd-placer Alab Pilipinas.
With the win, the Dragons post back-to-back wins and move up to 5-10 in the standings. Meanwhile, Alab’s 8-game win streak is history and they move down to third place with an 11-5 win-loss slate. Thailand’s Mono Vampire moves up to solo second with their 12-5 record.
Westports Malaysia Dragons (90) – Eversley 36, Munzon 19, Kuek 14, Purdy 11, Davis 9, Wong 1, Teo 0
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (89) – Balkman 33, Brownlee 25, Parks 10, Domingo 7, Urbiztondo 6, Raymundo 6, Maierhofer 2, Sumalinog 0, Hontiveros 0
Quarter Scores: 24-26, 44-47, 65-69, 90-89
STANDINGS (as of March 4, 2018)
Hong Kong Eastern 12-2
Mono Vampire 12-5
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 11-5
Chongson Kung Fu 9-4
Singapore Slingers 9-7
Saigon Heat 8-8
Westports Malaysia Dragons 5-10
CLS Knights Indonesia 3-13
Formosa Dreamers 1-16