Saigon stuns reeling Alab Pilipinas, spoils Balkman return
MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Alab Pilipinas ended its ABL regular season on a low note, losing a stunning 80-81 decision against the Saigon Heat in Vietnam on Sunday, March 24.
The Heat spoiled Renaldo Balkman’s 25-point effort in his return from injury as they locked up the 5th seed heading to the playoffs.
Alab, meanwhile, has clinched the 2nd seed before it dropped its fourth straight contest. The Philippuine club is set to face No. 7 Hong Kong Eastern in the 1st round.
Saigon’s import duo of Trevon Hughes and Kyle Barone led the charge, dropping 24 and 22 points, respectively. Hughes also dished out 8 assists while Barone corralled 14 rebounds.
It was a neck-and-neck game all the way, with Saigon never leading more than 3 points in the 4th quarter.
Reigning two-time Local MVP Ray Parks delivered in the clutch, as usual, after drilling the go-ahead triple, 80-79, exactly at the two-minute mark.
However, no team was able to capitalize down the stretch before Barone tied the game 80-all off a split free throw with 29 ticks left to play.
Oping Sumalinog then got called for a crucial reach-in, sending Hughes to the line with 1.5 seconds remaining. He calmly sank the first and purposely missed the second, forcing Alab to fire a full-court heave as time expired.
Parks backstopped Balkman with 16 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. – Rappler.com