With an outright semifinals ticket still in the balance, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas did their job, romping the also-ran CLS Knights, 84-67, Wednesday evening at the Caloocan Sports Complex in Caloocan City.
Alab is currently sporting a 13-6 record, a full game behind Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club for second. The top two teams in the league will be rewarded with a bye to the semifinals of the post-season.
Besides the win, the Philippine-side is now 3-0 in their season series with CLS. Last January 18, Alab escaped with a 92-87 win in Surabaya. They followed this up with an 80-73 win last February 11.
Reigning Local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks Jr. led Alab’s romp with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Justin Brownlee added 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals in just 28 minutes of action.
However, Renaldo Balkman was not able to play in the second half after suffering a left ankle sprain during the closing moments of the second quarter. Balkman, who finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds, remains day-to-day.
With Balkman out, Alab locked in on defense during the final 20 minutes of the game.
After Brian Williams was able to cut the lead to just nine points with 8:54 left in the third frame, Brownlee, Parks, and Dondon Hontiveros made it rain with a bevy of jumpers. A 15-4 run late in the quarter extended Alab’s lead to a game-high 24 points, 71-47.
Filipino export Keith Jensen, who started for CLS, was limited to just six points
Williams paced CLS with 19 points and 18 rebounds while Shane Edwards added 17 markers. Freddy Lish, who was averaging 14.28 points prior to this game, was shackled by Alab, finishing with just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Alab finish their elimination round campaign on Sunday, March 25, taking on CLS once again at the Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Center in Laguna.