Alab Pilipinas brings ABL title back to the Philippines after 5 years at Mono Vampire’s expense

MANILA, Philippines - The long wait is finally over as Philippines regains its basketball supremacy in the ASEAN region after ending Mono Vampire’s series, 102-92 on Wednesday, May 2, 1018 at the Sta. Rosa Multi Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa City Laguna.

Alab Pilipinas brings ABL title back to the Philippines after 5 years at Mono Vampire’s expense
Mission accomplished! San Miguel Alab Pilipinas is the 2018 ABL Champions! Photo Credit: Twitter/ABL

What was Alab’s game plan for this winner-take-all game 5? Take Sam Deguara out as early as possible. As simple as that.

Mono Vampire’s 7’5” center became a real problem for Coach Jimmy Alapag and his boys. Whenever Deguara stays on floor and preserves his personal fouls, Thailand has the edge. But if the Maltese-Italian gets into foul trouble, Alab reigns.

With just 4 minutes gone by after the opening tip-off, Renaldo Balkman got Sam Deguara’s 2nd personal foul and the entire Alab squad posted an early 10-point advantage over Mono Vampire.

Nothing was going easy for Thailand, either its players get blocked or earn their points from the foul line. In contrast, Philippines made its living from fastbreaks and converted a handful of drop passes as an antidote to the titanic Deguara.

27-14 in favor of Alab Pilipinas after the opener with Renaldo Balkman leading the way with 15 markers.

The imports of both teams started trading baskets as the 2nd period unfolded. Mike Singletary and Justin Brownlee set a scoring duel from the deep three while Sam Deguara and Renaldo Balkman owned the shaded lane.

Mono Vampire got a lucky break and managed to bring the lead down to a single-digit at the 4-minute mark after Renaldo Balkman and Dondon Hontiveros were both whistled for technical fouls.

Bobby Ray Parks Jr. who was playing superb basketball in the entire series got into foul trouble under 2 minutes of the quarter. Nevertheless, his team was still up 54-45 as the 1st half ended.

Mono Vampire started the 3rd quarter in attack mode and chipped Alab Pilipinas’ lead to a single figure. Another bad news for Philippines as Bobby Ray Parks Jr. obtained his 4th personal foul for trying to size-up against Sam Deguara.

The tenacity of Alab imports and fair share from the locals gave Philippines the opportunity to reinstate its double-digit lead.

Paolo Javelona and Josh Urbiztondo’s timely three pointers together with the defensive hussle of Renaldo Balkman were all instrumental to Alab’s scoring surge. With over 6 minutes left in the third, Alab Pilipinas had a 16-point, 67-51 lead.

At 3:50 of the period, Alab Pilipinas recorded its biggest lead of the series at 21 along with Sam Deguara’s 3rd personal foul. Coach Doug Marty however, gambled and let Deguara played on.

Alab Pilipinas savored a 21-point, 82-61 advantage as the Nationals headed to the final quarter of the long series.

Not a good 4th quarter star for Alab as Law Domingo fouled out with over 8 minutes left. Domingo played a huge role in Alab’s scoring surge way back in the third.

The home crowd went wild after Justin Brownlee posterized Sam Deguara with a tomahawk dunk. However, Bobby Ray Parks Jr. consumed his 5th personal foul after that spectacular play.

Alab hit the century-point mark at the 2-minute warning of the game. Mono however, kept on fighting in hope to stay alive and win the title. Mike Singletary drained triples and cut the lead down to 13 but it was way too late.

Coach Jimmy Alapag pulled out his imports as a classy act and a sign of respect to his counterpart. The locals finished the job done until the final horn sounded.

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas brought the ABL title back to its homeland after 5 long years as it knocked out Mono Vampire Basketball Club 102-92.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay San Miguel Alab Pilipinas!

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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