Playing without 7-foot-3 giant PJ Ramos did not stop San Miguel Alab Pilipinas from putting up a gallant stand in Hong Kong.
Despite a sensational outing from Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and the rest of the Philippine-based club team, Alab could not overcome a three import-headed Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club, falling 83-88, Wednesday evening at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai.
All three of Alab’s losses came on the road. Still, the defending champions – who had their seven-game winning streak snapped – remain on top of the standings with a 13-3 record.
Besides this, Alab still own bragging rights over Hong Kong, winning the series 3-1. They first bagged an 87-75 win last January 11, then followed it up with an 88-76 victory 16 days later. Just five days ago, Alab picked up a masterful 96-81 road win over Hong Kong.
Ramos, who is averaging 19.4 points and 12.6 rebounds, missed the game due to food poisoning.
Still, Alab put up a good fight thanks to Parks, Jr.
Down by as much as 14 in the game, the reigning, two-time Local MVP willed Alab all by himself in the second half, scoring 19 of his 29 points.
Parks’ stepback triple with nine minutes left gave Alab their first taste of the lead, 72-71, while another triple three minutes later gave Alab a six-point edge.
However, back-to-back triples by Marcus Elliott and Lee Ki knotted the game later on.
With Ramos out, Deguara feasted late in the game. Meanwhile, the defense clamped down on Parks to close out the game and lift Hong Kong to a 12-9 record.
Deguara ended up with a monster outing, finishing with 31 rebounds, 18 points, and eight blocks.
Deguara also had support from the debuting Michael Holyfield, who tallied 19 points and 20 rebounds, and Marcus Elliott, who added 13 points – two of which were clutch free throws. Local Lee added 17 markers built on three triples.
Renaldo Balkman, who had to defend the 7-foot-3 Deguara all by his lonesome, still managed to put up 14 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Ethan Alvano and Josh Urbiztondo chipped in 11 markers each, with the former dishing out 10 dimes as well.
Alab have no time to sulk as they head to Zhuhai on Friday to take on the Wolf Warriors.
San Miguel Alab 83 – Parks 29, Balkman 14, Alvano 11, Urbiztondo 11, Tiongson 9, Domingo 6, Alabanza 2, Rosser 1, Javelona 0, Rivero 0, Torres 0.
Hong Kong 88 – Holyfield 19, Deguara 18, Lee 17, Elliott 13, Chan 9, Lau 6, Tang 3, Lam 3, Siu 0, Yang 0, Xu 0.
Quarterscores: 15-27, 36-43, 64-71, 83-88