Alab Pilipinas torches Saigon Heat in thrilling Davao match
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – San Miguel Alab Pilipinas snapped their two-game losing streak by dominating over the Saigon Heat, 126-100, on Wednesday, March 14, at the USEP Gym in Davao.
Alab Pilipinas left Saigon Heat with no hope of rallying back despite losing the services of Josh Urbiztondo and Robbie Celiz due to injuries during the game. Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee took the backseat as an all-Filipino team donned Alab's colors in the final frame.
The Davao crowd fed positive energy to the Filipino team that previously endured a 15-point defeat against second seed Chong Son Kung Fu, which sent Alab to 4th place in the standings.
Alab Pilipinas now stands at 12-6 in the 8th season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The team would need to win all of their remaining games and watch Hong Eastern or Chong Son Kung Fu drop their next games to advance straight to the semi-finals. Saigon Heat skidded to a 9-9 record and failed to secure a ticket to the playoffs.
Balkman led Alab Pilipinas with 30 points and 7 rebounds. Brownlee added a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Maxie Esho racked up 24 points to lead the Saigon Heat.
This game also saw the first time Filipino-American player Michael Williams will play in his home country for the Saigon Heat.
After trailing Alab 8-15 in the first quarter, the Vietnamese team responded with a massive 12-2 run that were all triples care of Moses Morgan and David Arnold. Alab Pilipinas managed to lock down the Heat as a 10-3 run punctuated by two triples from Brownlee took back the lead for the Filipino team.
Alab Pilipinas shot the lights out in the second quarter led by Paolo Javelona who came off the bench and drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give Alab an 11-point lead, 39-28. Dondon Hontiveros and Brownlee buried 3 more from beyond the arc that almost stretched the lead to 20 points.
Josh Urbiztondo broke past Williams but lost his balance and hurt his right ankle. He was carried off by his teammates at the 3:14 mark of the second quarter. In the next sequence, the Cebuano Hotshot came up for block on Akeem Scott but tumbled to a bad landing and was subbed off in the last 3:04 of the first half.
Things remained physical as Parks came up for a block, but Scott crouched low for an undercut and jumped to send the Filipino landing on his back. Scott drew the foul and managed to sink both charities.
Saigon Heat continued to suffer in the second half as Alab Pilipinas' hot shooting stretched the lead to as much as 30 points.
Injury woes did not elude Alab as Robby Celiz was down with a bloodied face and he was stretchered off in the last two minutes of the 3rd frame.
Alab Pilipinas' next game will be another home agame on Wednesday, March 21 against the CLS Knights at Baliuag Star Arena.
Alab (126) – Balkman 30, Brownlee 24, Parks 13, Raymundo 13, Javelona 11, Sumalinog 7, Hontiveros 6, Domingo 6, Urbiztondo 5, Alabanza 5, Celiz 4, Maierhofer 2.
Saigon Heat (100) – Esho 24, Williams 19, Scott 15, Morgan 13, T. Nguyen 11, Arnold 7, H. Nguyen 5, Le 3, H. Nguyen 3, To 0.
Quarter Scores: 29-25, 68-50, 101-73, 126-100