By JONAS TERRADO
Game Today (Sta. Rosa, Laguna)
8 p.m. – Alab Pilipinas vs Mono Vampire
(Alab leads series 1-0)
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas shoots for a commanding 2-0 on Thailand’s Mono Vampire in the second game of the ASEAN Basketball Finals tonight at the City of Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna with the same intent of putting the clamps down on 7-foot-5 center Sam Deguara and Fil-American guard Jason Brickman.
Alab took the best-of-five series opener Sunday with a 143-130 overtime victory, but not after dealing with the Herculean task of containing Deguara and Brickman, players who coach Jimmy Alapag labeled as his main worries even before the championship showdown began.
Despite fouling out late in regulation, Deguara still made his presence felt with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Brickman, who two years ago won the ABL Finals Most Valuable Player for the Westports Malaysia Dragons, had 15 points and 14 assists before dealing with cramps.
Alapag is also begging for a better defensive job after Game 1 became the highest scoring game in league history as Alab looks to move a step closer to becoming the third Filipino team to capture the ABL crown.
“I was amazed at the offensive show that we put on, scoring 143 points in a 45-minute game. On the other side of that, definitely wasn’t happy giving up 130 points to Mono considering we’ve been one of the best defensive teams in the league the entire season,” said Alapag.
Alab gave up 85.8 points per game in the regular season and 87.8 during playoff series wins over the Saigon Heat and Hong Kong Eastern.
“I don’t think we played the way we’re supposed to play,” said import Renaldo Balkman, whose putback off a Justin Brownlee miss late in regulation saved Alab from a Game 1 defeat.
“I mean, we’re a defensive team, and that shouldn’t be happening with us. We won the game, but that’s not us – we’ve never given up that many points this whole year. We gotta go back there and say ‘Know what, we can’t give them a 130-some points. That’s too much for us.”