By Jonas Terrado
(Caloocan Sports Complex)
7:30 p.m. — Alab Pilipinas vs Mono Vampire
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas overcame anxious moments in the second half to escape past host Hong Kong Eastern 77-76 Thursday night in the ASEAN Basketball League at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai district.
Jeremiah Gray’s block on Jon Siu in the final seconds sealed the deal for Alab, which squandered a 19-point lead and trailed 76-73 with under two minutes remaining in the fourth.
Gray had 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocks as coach Jimmy Alapag’s team moved past idle Taipei Fubon Braves for second place with six victories and three defeats.
Alab’s win came amid speculations that Justin Brownlee, who led Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to the PBA Governors’ Cup crown recently, will reinforce the team sometime during the season.
Alapag, however, said that the team is right now focused on its current stretch of six games over the next 16 days before it can entertain thoughts on such possibility.
Jason Brickman dished out 16 assists, Prince Williams had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists in his debut as Khalif Wyatt’s replacement while fellow import Nick King topscored 24 points, including the go-ahead basket with over a minute to go.
But King nearly cost Alab the victory when his inbound hit the legs of Williams, resulting in a turnover with six seconds left.
Hong Kong import Michael Holyfield found Siu at the corner for a potential game-winning shot but Gray came through with the block as time expired.
Import Brandis Raley-Ross produced 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists but Hong Kong dropped to 3-5.
Raley-Ross was mainly responsible for leading Hong Kong back after Alab took a 49-30 lead early in the third quarter.
ALAB PILIPINAS 77 — King 24, Williams 14, Deguara 12, Gray 11, Vigil 5, Heading 3, Brickman 2, Domingo 2, Rosser 2, Caracut 0.
HONG KONG 76 — Raley-Ross 33, Costner 19, Holyfield 13, Siu 8, Guinchard 2, Ng 1, Xu 0.
Quarters: 23-14; 45-30; 63-60; 77-76.