Alab Pilipinas sweep Hong Kong, make ABL Finals
STA. ROSA — San Miguel Alab Pilipinas swept Hong Kong, 79-72, in their best-of-three semifinals series on Sunday to advance to the 2018 Asean Basketball League Finals.
Buoyed by the rowdy crowd inside Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex, the Philippines secured the first championship ticket as it dethroned the defending champion in the process.
San Miguel Alab faces either Mono Vampire or Chong Son Kung Fu in the finals.
Renaldo Balkman sparked Alab’s breakaway in third, scoring seven straight points to break a 43-deadlock to help his team take a 60-49 lead heading into the fourth.
Alab’s lead ballooned to 18, 69-51, early in the final frame before holding off a late rally by Hong Kong.
Marcus Elliott kept Hong Kong in the game while Christian Standhardinger trimmed the lead down to seven, 77-70, with 52.3 seconds before Justin Brownlee put on the finishing touches to send the Filipinos to the finals in only their second season in the league.
Brownlee paced Alab with 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocks while Balkman poured in 21 points that went with 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr. finished with a double-double of 13 points, 13 rebounds with five assists to boot while Pao Javelona stepped up anew with 11 points, eight boards, and four assists.
San Miguel Alab became the fifth Philippine team to reach the finals, and the first since the San Miguel Beermen won the championship in 2013.
Elliott paced Hong Kong with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Standhardinger got 16 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat.
SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS 79 — Brownlee 22, Balkman 21, Parks 13, Javelona 11, Raymundo 6, Alabanza 4, Domingo 2, Hontiveros 0, Sumalinog 0, Urbiztondo 0.
HONG KONG EASTERN 72 — Elliott 25, Standhardinger 16, Moss 15, Lamb 8, Lee 4, Lau 3, Tang 1, Xu 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 37-32, 60-49, 79-72.
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