AirAsia PH Patriots turn back Thailand SlammersBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AIRASIA Philippines turned on its locals to finish the job as the Patriots hacked out an 80-74 triumph over the Chang Thailand Slammers Saturday night in the Asean Basketball League at the Thai Japanese Association Gym in Bangkok.
Rob Wainwright, Marcy Arellano, Jonathan Fernandez and Aldrech Ramos took charge late in the game to help the Patriots wrap up their elimination-round schedule with a second-best 16-5 record despite import woes.
“Our imports are always there, so what I really wanted to see was the contribution of the locals, especially now that we’re going into the semifinals,” said Patriots coach Glenn Capacio.
The Patriots played without Nakiea Miller after the American import got ejected early in the fourth quarter for incurring two technical fouls.
Anthony Johnson, their other import, played through a groin injury and finished with 15 points, still a team-high but one of his lowest outputs this season where he averaged 24.3 points.
The Slammers—last year’s champions who wound up in the cellar at 5-16 —nearly wiped out the Patriots’ 19-point advantage by closing within four, 59-55.
But back-to-back triples by Wainwright and Fernandez and a Ramos jumper moved the Patriots to safer grounds, 69-58.
“The good thing about this win is that our players didn’t panic and proved that they’re a veteran team,” said Capacio.
Arellano fired 11 points on top of five rebounds while Wainwright pumped in nine of his 11 points from beyond the arc.
The Patriots finished the triple round-robin behind the San Miguel Beermen, who wrapped up their own elimination run last week with a leading 17-4 slate.
Both Philippine squads will enjoy the homecourt edge in the best-of-three semifinals as incentive for the top two teams.
AIRASIA PH 80—Johnson 15, Miller 11, Wainwright 11, Arellano 11, Larong 8, Vergara 7, Raymundo 5, Ramos 4, Fernandez, 3, Adriano 3, Rodriguez 2, Laure 0.
THAILAND 74—Williams 21, Leynes 15, Garnett 13, Pinitpatcharalert 11, Apiromvilaichai 7, Lertmalaiporn 4, Jantuma 2, Supachai 1, Wongsawangtum 0, Angeles 0, Ghogar 0.
Quarters: 20-13, 36-23, 57-49, 80-74