San Miguel Alab Pilipinas are now headed to the 8th ASEAN Basketball League semifinals, as they swept the Saigon Heat, 96-85, in Game Two of their quarters series, Saturday night at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Filipino club team will face defending champions Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team in the semis in a best-of-three affair. Their series will start on April 11, Wednesday, at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.
Renaldo Balkman anchored San Miguel Alab with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Lawrence Domingo had 21 as well along with six boards, while Justin Brownlee produced 18 markers, 13 caroms, three assists, and two steals.
It was a tight contest at first, until Alab found its groove in the second half. Six straight points behind Brownlee and Balkman gave them a 64-52 lead with 3:54 in the third — a lead they then never gave up the rest of the way.
Alab led by as much as 15, 87-72, after back-to-back baskets from Domingo and Balkman with 3:07 remaining in the final period.
Saigon looked to stage a rally as they closed within eight, 81-89, with 1:44 to go, but Balkman’s lay-up and Domingo’s three-point play that gave Alab a 94-81 lead with 1:03 left to play were all enough to blow the Heat away.
Pao Javelona made a mark yet again for Alab as he chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, and four assist. Reigning Local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. provided 10 markers, seven boards, three feeds, and a block.
Main point guard Josh Urbiztondo made his return to Alab after missing some games due to an injury. He played for nearly 20 minutes and had six points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Akeem Scott led the Heat with 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Maxie Esho had 20 points; Moses Morgan had 17 points, seven boards, and five dimes; and David Viet Arnold scored 14 spiked by four triples.
Saigon’s Filipino-American Heritage Import Mikey Williams, who had 19 points back in Game One, was limited to just six points on 2-of-6 shooting along with two rebounds, two assists, and a steal in the 38 minutes he played.
San Miguel Alab 96 — Balkman 21, Domingo 21, Brownlee 18, Javelona 11, Parks 10, Raymundo 6, Urbiztondo 6, Hontiveros 3, Celiz 0, Sumalinog 0.
Saigon 85 — Scott 22, Esho 20, Morgan 17, Arnold 14, S. Nguyen 6, Williams 6, H. Nguyen 0, To QT 0.
Quarterscores: 28-27, 46-42, 73-59, 96-85.