San Miguel Alab Pilipinas swept defending champions Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team, 79-72, to book the first ticket to the ASEAN Basketball League Finals, Sunday night at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
This will be the sophomore Filipino ball club’s first foray into the championship.
Justin Brownlee had 22 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists to lead San Miguel Alab. Fellow World Import Renaldo Balkman — Game One’s hero — supplied 21 points, 11 boards, four dimes, and three steals.
San Miguel Alab already had the edge late in the second period, but it was in the third canto where they pulled away wide — a Balkman-led 16-5 scoring spree broke the 43-all deadlock and gave Alab a 59-48 lead with 1:41 on the clock.
San Miguel Alab would then lead by as much as 18 points, 69-51, with 8:16 to go in the final chapter, thanks to three consecutive three-pointers from Ray Parks Jr., Brownlee, and Paolo Javelona.
Eastern, however, made a late surge by unloading eight straight points — punctuated by Christian Standhardinger’s lay-up — to trim a once-15-point deficit to just seven, 70-77, with 52.3 seconds left in the game.
But that proved to be Hong Kong’s last gasp, as San Miguel Alab’s defense plus split freebies from Brownlee and Parks in the final seconds shunned their hopes and paved the way for the home team’s trip to the Finals.
Parks continues to show he’s the reigning Local Most Valuable Player as he had 13 points and 13 rebounds along with five assists for Alab. Fellow NU Bulldog Javelona had 11 markers, eight caroms, and four feeds.
Marcus Elliott led the now-dethroned Hong Kong with 25 points and nine rebounds. Ryan Moss chipped in 15 points and 16 rebounds.
Filipino-German forward Standhardinger provided 16 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in his final game with Hong Kong. The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart is headed next to the San Miguel Beermen as a PBA rookie.
Alab 79 — Brownlee 22, Balkman 21, Parks 13, Javelona 11, Raymundo 6, Alabanza 4, Domingo 2, Hontiveros 0, Sumalinog 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Hong Kong 72 — Elliott 25, Standhardinger 16, Moss 15, Lamb 8, Lee 4, Lau 3, Tang 1, Xu 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16, 37-32, 60-49, 79-72.