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End of the road for Alab Pilipinas

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It was the Fireball who extinguished Alab’s fire

Alab Pilipinas’ roller-coaster run in the 2017 ASEAN Basketball League has come to a sour end as they absorbed an 82-64 drubbing at the hands of the Singapore Slingers in Game 2 of their semis series, Friday night at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.

“Kung ano yung game namin ngayon, yun yung story ng season namin,” rued Alab head coach Mac Cuan in the season-ending loss. “We played good, especially in the third quarter where we made a good run. [Kaso] kung kailan nandoon na kami, tsaka kami bibitaw.

And it was Filipino-American Josh Urbiztondo, the Slingers’ ASEAN Heritage import, who proved to be the thorn in the Philippines’ side.

Urbiztondo produced 20 points spiked by four treys, along with five rebounds and six assists.

Alab trailed by as much as 20, 45-25, late in the second period, but regained their bearings after the halftime break to erase the huge lead and get within just six, 57-51, after back-to-back triples from Jens Knuttel and Kiefer Ravena with 1:06 in the third.

But after that surge, the Filipinos suddenly ran out of gas in the final 10 minutes. The Singaporeans then capitalized and quickly erupted to a 12-4 scoring spree ended by Josh Urbiztondo’s triple and a lay-up to erect a 17-point lead, 72-55, with 6:41 left.

“Sabi ko naman sa kanila, ‘whatever happens in this game, I’m proud of you guys.’ Kasi despite all the limitations, all that whatever happened to the team — palit import in the middle of the season then adjust sa mga bagong players, we’re still there,” Cuan shared.

Lawrence Domingo anchored Alab with 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting and hauled down 13 rebounds. Kiefer Ravena chipped in 16 markers, despite going 6-of-19 from the floor, along with four boards and four dimes.

From there, as the minutes waned, Alab never had any chance of mounting even the smallest of comeback attempts, paving the way for the Slingers to head to the Big Dance.

American reinforcement James Hughes supplied 10 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks.

Xavier Alexander starred for the Slingers with 21 points on an excellent 75 percent clip and 12 rebounds, while Justin Howard had 18 and 16.

Shooting woes hounded Alab all throughout the match, as they only shot 34 percent from the field. Moreover, the Slingers’ bench proved to be more effective, adding 21 points in their total output.

The Scores:

Singapore Slingers (82) – Alexander 21, Urbiztondo 20, Howard 18, Kwek 10, Wong 8, Oh 3, Folkoff 2, Goh 0.

Alab Pilipinas (64) – Domingo 18, Ravena 16, Hughes 10, Carter 7, Celiz 6, Knuttel 4, Hubalde 3, Cawaling 0, Mendoza 0, Acuna 0.

Quarterscores: 24-14, 47-29, 60-51, 82-64.

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Hong Kong Eastern deals Tanduay Alab third straight loss

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Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team continued Tanduay Alab Pilipinas’ misery early in the 9th ASEAN Basketball League, sending the Philippine side to its third straight loss, 99-96, Wednesday night at the Southorn Stadium.

The Filipino club team has now dropped to a 0-3 hole, while the defending ABL champions cruised to their fifth straight win for a clean 5-0 slate. Moreover, HK Eastern is now 2-0 in their season series with Tanduay Alab.

Tyler Lamb powered Hong Kong Eastern with 32 big points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter. World Import Marcus Elliott had a solid all-around outing with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.

Christian Standhardinger, who is coming off a 40-point outing against Mono Vampire BC, added 25 markers — spiked by 3-of-3 treys in the fourth — in the win.

The sophomore ABL franchise was actually on pace to put an end to the league leaders’ winning streak, all thanks to several double-digit cushions they were able to establish in the first three quarters.

But it all changed come crunch time. And what transpired in the end-game on Wednesday night was similar — perhaps eerily so — to what had taken place in their first meeting last November 19 in Manila.

From an 85-88 deficit with 3:38 to go in the final quarter, Hong Kong Eastern went on an 11-0 rampage behind the exploits of reinforcements Elliott, Lamb, and Moss to establish a favorable 96-88 lead with 1:24 on the clock.

The Philippine contingent then responded with an 8-2 surge — capped by Reggie Okosa’s three — to give the home team a legit threat by trimming the deficit to just two points, 96-98, with just 15 ticks remaining.

Tanduay Alab had chances to either tie the match or even steal the W, but their shots failed to meet the bottom of the net. Lee Ki’s split freebies on the other end helped Hong Kong widen their lead, 99-96, with 11 seconds left.

And just like in their season opener, Alab looked to send the game into an extra period. Josh Urbiztondo had chances to redeem himself from that missed end-game triple back in that opener, but unfortunately, he missed again.

Ivan Johnson paced Tanduay Alab with 32 points and nine rebounds. Okosa had 25 and 13, while Ray Parks Jr. supplied 14 markers.

The Scores:

Hong Kong Eastern 99 — Lamb 32, Standhardinger 25, Elliott 20, Lee 12, Moss 6, Tang 2, Xu 2, Lau 0.

Tanduay Alab 96 — Johnson 32, Okosa 25, Urbiztondo 14, Parks 11, Celiz 6, Hontiveros 3, Sumalinog 3, Domingo 2, Javelona 0, Maierhofer 0.

Quarterscores: 20-23, 43-46, 64-66, 99-96.

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Where is Joshua Munzon?

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Still remember Joshua Munzon?

The uber-athletic Fil-American made waves in the ASEAN Basketball League last season, producing highlight-worthy plays and excellent numbers for Vietnamese squad Saigon Heat and the Westports Malaysia Dragons.

He’d also gained ground with Filipino fans when he and Saigon came the Philippines back in January to face Alab Pilipinas. The Heat may have lost 99-79, but Munzon won the hearts of Pinoys that night with the way he played.

But now, with the new ABL season rolling, he is nowhere to be found.

It is baffling, to say the least, that such a talented cager as Munzon isn’t suiting up for an ABL squad this season, considering that he posted commendable numbers of 19.4 points and nearly five steals in his rookie year.

He still made strides in the Thailand League with club team PEA, after his ABL stint last March. However, it was still a mystery why Munzon isn’t in the ABL, especially with the amount of teams that want his services.

But he has finally shed light on the issue.

“Me and KL (Westports) couldn’t agree to terms on a contract, so I tried to sign with another team. But I guess KL would have to release me to play for another team, although I’m not under contract with KL,” Munzon told Tiebreaker Times.

Munzon added that the apparent “gentlemen’s agreement” among the ABL team owners — which means he has to wait for a year before signing with another club — is what landed him in this unfortunate situation.

“KL told me they won’t release me to sign with another team this season, so I’m going to have to wait ’til next season to sign with another team,” revealed Munzon, who also shared that five ABL teams had reached out to him.

The California State-LA alumnus is currently at his home in Los Angeles, continuing his workouts and waiting for developments, if any. But Munzon did not hide the fact that being held like this is extremely disappointing.

“Very tough. It’s been a very unfortunate situation that I definitely don’t feel I deserve to be in.”

Back in January, Munzon had actually made clear his intentions of playing in the Philippines. Not for a Filipino ABL team, though, but in the PBA. And he was also aware of what he has to do first: play in the D-League.

“Yeah, play in the D-League first,” Munzon was quoted saying back then. “We’ll see after the (2016-2017) season. I’ll weigh my options first and go from there.

“But definitely get in the D-League first, and hopefully move forward from there.”

When he wasn’t seen anywhere in the ABL, those who have been following Munzon’s career assumed that he was bound to fulfill his plans, and it was expected that he will make himself eligible in the 2017 D-League Draft.

Unfortunately, that did not happen.

“I wasn’t aware of the deadlines to apply,” admitted Munzon, the consensus top pick, as the deadline of submission of requirements for Fil-foreign applicants was due last November 10. “I think I’m too late for PBA D-League.”

Had Munzon joined this year’s draft, teams would definitely show strong interest. Standing at six-foot-five with the ability to attack the rim, shoot from downtown, and defend, he perfectly fits the Filipinos’ style of play.

But until then, the fans still have to wait.

He may be clouded with uncertainties in the ABL, but that does not spell the end of Munzon’s young pro career. In fact, he might even fly back to Southeast Asia and return to Thailand for yet another campaign.

“I could possibly be playing in the upcoming TBSL season in Thailand,” Munzon shared. “[But] I’m not sure which team yet though, but I should know sooner than later.”

Munzon is slowly carving a niche for himself as a journeyman in this part of Asia. Asked if he will soon fly to the Philippines to play in the PBA, the 22-year-old said that that possibility will happen “in a matter of time.”

“I would have to play D-League before [going into the PBA], or wait until I’m 28 — but I’m 22,” he quipped. “But I definitely see myself playing in the PBA eventually.

“It’s just a matter of time.”

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Rudy Lingganay makes ABL return, joins CLS Knights

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Photo from CLS Knights' Instagram account

After a brief stint with the TNT Katropa, 31-year-old Rudy Lingganay returned to where he made a name for himself as he will make a return to the ASEAN Basketball League, joining the CLS Knights Indonesia.

The news was first reported by lensaindonesia.com.

Lingganay will have a huge role with the Knights as the team sees him as the tempo-dictator of the team.

“We recruited him to make our game faster,” team manager Christoper Tanuwidjaja said in a statement.

“Hopefully his experience in the ABL, TBSL, and the PBA will have a positive effect on the team.”

During the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup, the 5-foot-10 guard was tapped by TNT. He played in just eight games, playing back-up to Jayson Castro.

This is not his first dance in the ABL however, playing for the Kuala Lumpur Dragons during the first two seasons of the league. He averaged 12.0 points on 34.3 percent shooting from downtown and 3.6 rebounds in his ABL career.

The former University of the East Red Warrior joins Filipino-Indonesian Biboy Enguio in the team. Enguio also played for UE.

CLS is currently sporting a one win-three loss card.

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Christian Standhardinger brings home second Heritage Import of the Week crown

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

Christian Standhardinger was the undisputed Player of the Week

After almost erasing the scoring record for Heritage Imports, Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger of the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team was crowned as the unanimous ABL Heritage Player of the Week.

The 6-foot-7 Philippine export averaged 29.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks during the week that spanned from December 4 to 10, 2017.

Last December 8, the 2017 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist posted a statline of 40 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, and five steals to lead his team to a 112-105 road win over the Mono Vampire Basketball Club.

The 28-year-old big man followed this up with a complete outing of 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three blocks in an 81-77 victory over the Singapore Slingers in the latter’s homefloor.

Standhardinger bested Filipino-American Jason Brickman of Mono Vampire for the crown. Brickman, a floor general, averaged 9.0 points on 50 percent shooting to go along with 11.5 assists, and 3.0 steals during the same span.

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