Monstrous 7-foot-5 Deguara 'proud' to side with Alab in rebuild
MANILA, Philippines – Sam Deguara is known for two things in the ASEAN Basketball League: being tall and being a problem because of it.
Standing at a staggering 7-foot-5, the Maltese monster led Thailand-based Mono Vampire to the 2017 ABL Finals against the star-studded San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.
Still, it took the collective strength of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local MVP Ray Parks to chop down the Mono mammoth as Alab escaped in a thrilling five-game series to win their first championship in 5 years.
Fast forward to the present and the hulking Deguara is now wearing his former foes' colors, hoping that his arrival can help them turn things around in a rebuilding season.
Despite the addition of Deguara, Nick King, and super scorer Khalif Wyatt, Alab still lost too much firepower as Balkman, Parks, PJ Ramos, and Caelan Tiongson all left the team in the off-season.
"I feel proud that I'm representing the team. It's a pleasure for me and I'm proud to represent them this time," said the gentle giant after registering a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double with 2 blocks in his first game with Alab against the Singapore Slingers.
After a stopover with Hong Kong Eastern last year, Deguara looked headed for disaster with the Philippine team as he looked sluggish and rusty in his first game back at the Sta Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
But thanks to Wyatt's eruption from downtown, Alab blazed all the way back from 10 points down in the 4th quarter as Deguara put the finishing touches with a mid-range set shot for the 78-74 lead with 2:10 left in regulation.
"I have to be in the right mindset. Stay focused for the next wars and I have to learn from my mistakes," he said after Alab escaped with a 90-83 turnaround. "Excited to give them a game and make them proud of those things we can do."
With his former Mono teammate and Fil-Am veteran Jason Brickman also leading the Alab rebuild, Deguara is hoping that some familiar faces help him get better as the young season moves along.
"Jason is the key of our team," he said. "He helps us on and off the court. He's a great teammate."
"I just have to get better for myself and play just how I know [the game]." – Rappler.com