Alab Pilipinas needed to dig deep in Singapore to knot up their elimination round series against the Singapore Slingers, taking a 64-62 win in overtime, Sunday evening at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The win improves Alab’s slate to 7-4 while tying their series at 2 games each. The Slingers had been able to draw first blood, taking a 71-66 win in Singapore last November 27. They then followed it up with a 71-68 road win last December 18, before Alab finally defeated them at home, 74-72, a month ago.
Alab’s leading scorer Parks Jr. struggled against the Slingers defense, shooting just 4-of-16 from the field and attempting just three charities for nine points.
But fortunately for the Philippine club team, reinforcement Sampson Carter and floor generals Jeric Fortuna and Jens Knuttel delivered in the clutch.
With Alab down a point with 23 ticks left, Fortuna, who fouled Wong Wei Long in the closing minutes of regulation that resulted in the free throw that sent the match to overtime, found Sampson Carter on the block for an and-one play that gave Alab the lead. Knuttel then pickpocketed Kwek Wei Meng to seal the deal for Alab.
James Hughes finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Carter posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Behind Lawrence Domingo, Alab held a game-high seven point lead, 55-48, with three minutes remaining in the game. However, the Slingers held Alab scoreless the rest of the way as the Singapore squad rallied back.
A triple by Wong cut the defict to just one, while a split on the stripe sent the game into extra period. Those were the only points by the Singaporean in the game.
During the extra period, the Slingers lead went to as high as three points before James Hughes was able to knock down a clutch jumper. Two excellent stops by Alab led to Carter’s game-winner.
Domingo added 13 points off the bench to go along with six rebounds.
Alab shot 36 percent from the field compared to 30 percent for Slingers. However, the Slingers went to the charity stripe 25 times compared to just 11 times for Alab to keep the game close.
Justin Howard paced Singapore with 28 points and 14 rebounds in 45 minutes of game time.
Alab Pilipinas will next face Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons on Friday, February 17, at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.
Alab Pilipinas (64) – Domingo 13, Hughes 14, Carter 10, Parks Jr. 9, Celiz 7, Fortuna 3, Acuna 3, Mendoza 2, Cawaling 2, Knuttel 1, Gavieres 0, Hubalde 0.
Singapore Slingers (62) – Howard 28, Goh 10, Alexander 9, Ng 5, Wong 4, Kwek 4, Gardner 2, Oh 0.
Quarterscores: 12-18, 30-31, 42-43, 55-55, 64-62