Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.’s 24th birthday celebration did not go as planned
In their second encounter in three days, Alab Pilipinas could not make a late game comeback, as they fell to the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 79-77, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The loss snapped Alab’s two-game winning streak, dropping their slate to 8-5 — still good for third place in the standings.
Alab’s series with the Dragons is still in favor of the Philippine-side, 2-1, but will have to wait until March 5 before they can get their revenge.
Robby Celiz shattered his season-high mark set last Friday, scoring 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting to lead Alab. Sampson Carter chipped in a double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds to go along with four steals as the Philippine-side played without James Hughes, who had issues with his passport.
Alab fell by as much as 16 points, 36-52, midway through the third frame and were down by double-digits entering the final frame.
With Parks Jr. struggling for the second straight game, it was his supporting cast that sparked a huge fourth quarter rally. A triple by Jeric Fortuna energized Alab, while Carter powered his way inside to slowly cut the lead.
Celiz then heated up, giving Alab their first lead of the game, 72-71, with 3:20 remaining. The visitors were able to extend their lead four later on after a slam by Parks. Jr, coming from a Celiz find.
Parks Jr. finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.
But the Dragons would not be denied. Alab failed to box out Skylar Spencer after a Kiwi Gardner miss, leading to free throws. A miss from downtown by Celiz led to a breakaway layup for Gardner to knot things up at 77-all with 55 ticks left on the clock. Celiz then turned the ball over, which was followed by a foul by Fortuna on Gardner with two seconds left that led to the game-winning free throws and sealed the upset.
Westsports Malaysia had 40 points in the paint and scored 15 of their points off of Alab’s 15 turnovers.
Filipino-American Joshua Munzon finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-22 shooting.
Spencer paced Westsports Malaysia with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with 22 rebounds and four swats in 37 minutes of play. Gardner added 11 markers.
Alab Pilipinas will next face the Saigon Heat on Sunday, February 26, at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
Westsports Malaysia Dragons 79 – Spencer 22, Gardner 21, Munzon 20, Yeo 8, Ting 4, Loh 2, Kuek 2, Ma 0, Teo 0, Wong 0.
Alab Pilipinas 77 – Celiz 23, Carter 21, Fortuna 12, Cawaling 9, Parks Jr. 8, Knuttel 2, Gavieres 2, Domingo 0, Mendoza 0, Thiele 0, Hubalde 0.
Quarterscores: 18-13, 40-32, 64-52, 79-77.
Photo by ASEAN Basketball League