By Jonas Terrado
(OCBC Arena, Singapore)
4 p.m. — Singapore vs Alab Pilipinas
Jeremiah Gray came through down the stretch as San Miguel Alab Pilipinas outlasted the OJ Mayo-led Taipei Fubon Braves 101-96 Tuesday in the ASEAN Basketball League at The Arena in San Juan.
Gray finished with 17 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks while successfully making key stops on Mayo when it mattered to put Alab back on track following a shock 98-93 loss at the same venue to the Macau Wolf Warriors last Sunday.
Seven-foot-five Sam Deguara had 26 points and 14 rebounds while fellow imports Nick King and Khalif Wyatt added 22 and 21 points to keep Alab in third place at 5-2, behind Thailand’s Mono Vampire (5-1) and the Kuala Lumpur Dragons (3-1).
“I thought our energy was much better,” said Alab coach Jimmy Alapag. “Our focus was much better and the guys really followed the game plan. Credit goes to them.”
The improved showing came with Gray finally realizing big expectations after an impressive showing for Mighty Sports during its title run in last year’s William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
He entered the game struggling to find his niche at Alab, averaging 6.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 blocks in 19.2 minutes.
But Gray embraced the challenge of facing Mayo, who was notable for his NBA stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks.
Mayo did show his NBA pedigree, finishing with 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting while adding six rebounds and nine assists.
Alab took the game for good at 91-89 on a basket by King before Gray forced Mayo to shoot a contested mid-range jumper.
Gray later defied instructions to set up and play and hit a left elbow three, much to Alapag’s delight.
“In my mind, I was like ‘Hey, let’s slow it down and get a quality possession,’” Alapag said. “In that situation, I was wrong because he came down, took the shot he does practice all the time and knocks it down.”
Another three by Gray three possessions later gave Alab a 99-94 lead with under a minute to go before blocking Mayo’s three-point attempt.
ALAB PILIPINAS 101 — Deguara 26, King 22, Wyatt 21, Gray 17, Brickman 5, Caracut 5, Domingo 2, Vigil 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 1, Heading 0.
FUBON BRAVES 96 — Mayo 35, Garcia 27, Esho 13, K. Lin 8, J. Lin 8, Hung 3, M. Lin 2, Tseng 0, Kuo 0, Weir Chern 0, C. Lin 0, Hung Hsing 0.
Quarters: 20-28; 44-44; 67-68; 101-96.