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ABL

Dondon Hontiveros does not call it a day, signs with Alab

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During the ASEAN Basketball League presser on Tuesday morning at Shangri-la at the Fort, Dondon Hontiveros, 40, was seen sporting an Alab Pilipinas shirt.

Rumors swirled months ago that Hontiveros, one of the greatest shooters in modern-day Philippine basketball, would join the said club team after the Alaska Aces’ exit in the 2017 Governor’s Cup. Moreover, the Cebuano made hints that he is not ready to call it a day during Alaska’s final outing of the season last September 20.

“In fact yung last game ko sa Alaska, naisip ko na yung ABL,” bared Hontiveros, “Sinabi ko na sa agent ko na ‘Boss Danny [Espiritu], baka naman pwede niyo kausapin sina Charlie [Dy] and or sina Jimmy [Alapag].

“Then a few days after, nakausap ko sina Charlie, sina Jimmy. They told me na mag-start na pala yung ABL on November… I’m excited.”

The regional league’s way of play is totally different from the PBA, as it features a home-and-away format. But that is nothing new for Hontiveros, as he had already went through the same style during his MBA days with Cebu Gems.

“If maalala niyo 20 or 19 years ago, I started with a home-and-away format also with the MBA,” shared the 1998 MBA All-Star MVP.

“And I’ll have a chance to do it again in a bigger region, so I’m excited.”

The 13-time PBA All-Star is fully aware that he will not get major minutes anymore with Alab. But what he promises to do, despite being a newbie to the ABL, is bring and impart professionalism to the whole team.

“I’ll do my part — I’ll be guiding the young guys,” assured Hontiveros, who averaged 3.3 points on 29.5 shooting from downtown in just 11.6 minutes of action in his final year in the PBA, “Of course magiging rookie din ako kasi it’s a different set of tawagan, ganon, but how you handle practices, how to be a professional, I’ll show it to them.

“And of course kung ano maitulong ko sa court. Jimmy knows what I can do.”

And speaking of Alapag, who is in his head coaching debut, the 19-year veteran already sees one of the best floor generals of all time doing an excellent job manning the sidelines for Alab, last season’s fourth-placers.

“I’ve known Jimmy for a long time. Kahit kalaban kami, nakikita ko yung leadership niya. I’m not surprised na andito siya ngayon,” said Hontiveros of his former Gilas Pilipinas teammate. “And how he handles practice, how he communicates with the guys, I think he’ll be a very good coach.

“I really believe he’ll be a good coach. Playing for him kahit ako yung mas matanda, it looks awkward.”

Seeing Hontiveros play in a new league will surely be peculiar, and it will require some time before everyone gets used to it. Asked if he will ever see action back in the Filipino pro league, Hontiveros did not give out anything certain.

“Well ‘di ko masasabi kasi I’m already 40,” said the two-time PBA champion, “And I understand that basketball is a young man’s game. I’m just fortunate to be playing at this age. So ‘di ko talaga masasabi.

“As far as I’m concerned, ito lang talaga yung gusto kong gawin.”

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ABL

Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win

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Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Jason Brickman flirts with triple-double as Mono holds off Singapore

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After playing his worst game of the season last Sunday against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, Jason Brickman bounced back, steering the Mono Vampire to a 91-88 road victory over the Singapore Slingers, Friday evening at the OCBC Arena.

The 26-year-old, who finished with just seven points and three assists in their 71-104 loss to Alab, tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The league-leader in assists did not take a break, playing all 40 minutes.

But it was not a walk in the park for the Thailand-based squad.

Mono led by as much as 22 points, 60-48, with 7:46 left, 16 points entering the final frame. A furious fourth quarter rally by Singapore sliced the lead, turning the game into a single-possession contest with a minute left. The steady hands of Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary from the stripe fended off Singapore.

Brickman’s compatriot Paul Zamar chipped in 13 markers for Mono.

Since torching Alab last January 3, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani has been on a slump, going just 3-for-11 from the field for nine points.

Mono’s World Imports Samuel Deguara and Mike Singletary both finished with 26 points with the former hauling down 18 rebounds. For Singapore, Xavier Alexander paced the Slingers with 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

With the win, the Vampire kept solo third with a 7-4 slate. On the other hand, the Slingers dropped its second straight game since winning against Alab, falling to 5-6.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Marcus Elliott grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, having slain the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but were answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons, while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised their record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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