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.
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.