San Miguel-Alab dethrones HK, gains finals berth
CITY OF SANTA ROSA, Laguna—San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag lost his final game as a pro almost two years ago in the most heartbreaking way to a team led by Justin Brownlee.
Now working together at Alab, they have an opportunity to win a championship in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
With Alapag pushing all the right buttons and Brownlee continuing his superb play together with fellow import Renaldo Balkman, Alab clinched the first finals berth with a 79-72 victory over Hong Kong Eastern on Sunday night at City of Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.
“It’s funny because he hit the shot to beat our team in my final game,” said Alapag, referring to Brownlee, who nailed a triple that clinched the title for Ginebra at the expense of Meralco in the 2016 PBA Governor’s Cup.
“Now, we have a great chance to win this together. Justin is not just a great player but a genuinely good guy.”
It marked the fifth season that a Filipino club made the finals. The Philippine Patriots appeared in two finals, winning in 2009, while San Miguel also made the championship round in 2012 and 2013, prevailing in the latter.
Brownlee, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds, opened the ball game with a thunderous dunk, setting the tone for the Filipino club as it dethroned the defending champions with a sweep of the best-of-three semifinals.
Balkman also delivered a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Ray Parks had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.