Continuing where they left off last month – twice – San Miguel Alab Pilipinas showed their mastery over the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club, picking up a 96-81 triumph this time at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai, Friday evening.
With the win, Alab took the season series against Hong Kong, 3-0. They first bagged an 87-75 win last January 11; then followed it up with an 88-76 victory 16 days later.
Just like their first two games, Renaldo Balkman was the difference. The Puerto Rican star finished with 32 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field, to go along with three swats, four boards, and four dimes.
And the Puerto Rican took charge in the final frame, scoring 10 of Alab’s 23 points to seal the victory.
But it was a struggle for Alab during the first three quarters, as the Philippine-side clung on to a two-point lead.
Ethan Alvano, Lawrence Domingo, and Josh Urbiztondo provided the spark Alab needed, churning an 8-3 run to help the breakaway. Balkman then took charge as Alab fired on all cylinders to break the game wide open.
Reigning local MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. tallied 23 points on a 9-of-12 shooting clip with seven rebounds, in his second game back from a groin injury. Hulking import PJ Ramos flirted with a triple-double with 14 rebounds, 11 points, and nine assists, while helping hold Sam Deguara scoreless in the final frame after Deguara had 20 in the first 30 minutes of action.
Deguara was able to gobble down 16 boards.
Besides Alab’s big three, Caelan Tiongson and Alvano filled up the stat sheet as well.The former finished with eight points and a couple of rebounds and assists, while the latter scattered seven points, six assists, and three rebounds.
O’Darien Bassett and Marcus Elliott had 24 and 18 points, respectively, for the 11-9 Hong Kong.
The Alab-Hong Kong series finale takes place on February 13, also in Wanchai.
San Miguel Alab 96 — Balkman 32, Parks 23, Ramos 11, Tiongson 8, Alvano 7, Domingo 6, Urbiztondo 4, Javelona 3, Rosser 2.
Hong Kong 81 — Bassett 24, Deguara 20, Elliott 18, Siu 8, Chan 5, Lee 3, Lau 3, Tang 0, Yang 0, Xu 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20, 53-53, 73-71, 96-81.