Alab Pilipinas survives Mono Vampire, takes ABL Finals Game 1

MANILA, Philippines - Justin Brownlee and the rest of the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas made ABL records as they passed through the tough Mono Vampire Thailand, 143-130 and secured game number 1 on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa City Laguna.

Justin Brownlee’s near triple-double performance saved Alab Pilipinas from the scary Thais
Justin Brownlee’s near triple-double performance saved Alab Pilipinas from the scary Thais to win game number 1 | Photo Credit: ASEAN Basketball League

With 7’5” Sam Deguara on Mono Vampire’s side, Coach Jimmy Alapag stuck on his “how to slay a giant” blueprint which is the run-and-gun play led by Renaldo Balkman to increase Alab Pilipinas’ winning success.

As soon as the clock ticked, the Nationals sprinted through the floor to get a head start over the Thais. Despite the tenacity shown by the Filipinos, Mono Vampire managed to keep the scoring close with the help of Deguara who was virtually unstoppable in the shaded lane.

Thailand’s other world import and ex-PBA reinforcement, Mike Singletary, provided more firepower for his team and stole the lead from Philippines in the latter part until the end of the opening quarter. 32-26 in Favor of Mono Vampire.

Alab Pilipinas was able to contain Deguara and Singletary in the 2nd period but another problem popped-up as Fil-Am Jason Brickman found his rhythm from the outside as well.

Sam Deguara committed his 3rd personal foul too early in the second and signaled Alab to switch to attack mode.

Capitalizing on Deguara’s absence paid off for Coach Alapag and his wards as they tied the game at 47 with over 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.

Aside from Jason Brickman, another pocket rocket erupted for Mono Vampire. Former UE Red Warrior Paul Zamar owned the rainbow country few times to silence the Filipino home crowd. Zamar even made a rare 4-point play to regain the lead.

Alab did an outstanding stoppage on Mono in the dying seconds of the half. The Thais didn’t make it on time and left Philippines with 6 seconds to make a basket. The reigning local MVP, Ray Parks Jr. drained a long bomb for the 49-48 lead.

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas had its biggest break of the game after Sam Deguara obtained his 4th personal just seconds after the 3rd period had commenced.

Even without the giant Deguara, Philippines still had no answer to Mono’s Brickman-Zamar tandem. The duo preserved its outside spark that became a real issue and threat for Alab Pilipinas.

Sam Deguara spent most of his time on the bench due to foul trouble. But it wasn’t a big deal at all for Mono Vampire as Alab Pilipinas barely took the lead. Philippines was just up by 4 at the 2-minute mark of 3rd quarter.

Justin Brownlee had a terrific 3rd period but the imports of Mono Vampire were all tough enough to match Brownlee’s intensity and closed the third in a deadlock, 87-all.

Alab made a back-to-back treys that made the crowd gone wild and forced Mono Vampire Head Coach Douglas Marty to call a timeout in the beginning of the final quarter.

Philippines was able to ramp-up the lead to 9 in one point but was quickly brought down to 2 after Coach Marty’s timeout and re-insertion of Sam Deguara.

Under 3 minutes of the game, Alab’s lead was snatched by Sam Deguara and Mike Singletary.

With 1:06 left, Alab was trailing Mono 116-114. Coach Alapag requested for a ceasefire to make some adjustments and attempted to tie the game. Renaldo Balkman leveled the ballgame but Sam Deguara quickly recovered the lead.

Down by 4 and with 19 ticks left, Coach Alapag drew a play that forced Justin Brownlee to take a triple. Alab’s import delivered and made it to a one-possession 119-120 ballgame..

Mike SIngletary got fouled and split his charities. With no timeouts left, Alab Pilipinas needed just 2 points to send the game into overtime.

Justin Brownlee drove hard to basket for the equalizer but got fouled by Sam Deguara. Deguara got fouled out and sent Brownlee to the foul line to seal Alab’s fate. Brownlee missed his first foul shot and intentionally missed the second one with a high hope to turn a garbage into a gold. Luckily, his co-import, Renaldo Balkman picked-up the offensive board and made a put back that sent game number 1 into overtime.

Without Sam Deguara on the floor, Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman relentlessly attacked the basket for a 6-0 run at the start of the extra 5 minutes.

Alab’s lead got up to a dozen point under a minute of the extra period and steadily maintained the double-digit advantage until the final buzzer sounded with a 143-130 victory over Mono Vampire.

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas has a chance to add one more win to its best-of-five duel with Mono Vampire on Wednesday, April 25 for game number 2, still at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa City Laguna.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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