Back-to-back on top of ALab PH’s goals
With a younger more versatile squad, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag is upbeat as his team shoots for back-to-back crowns in the Asean Basketball League, a feat that has never been done in the regional league’s nine-year history.
The Filipino club will be challenged by nine other teams this season with the league approving the transfer of Chong Son Kung Fu to Macau (Black Bears) and welcoming the Wolf Warriors from Zuhai, China, as the 10th club.
“It’s always exciting to come into the season as the defending champion as supposed to being the team that’s trying to win it,” said Alapag during the league’s launch at Marriot Hotel on Tuesday. “Like everyone said there’s never been a team that’s won back-to-back so that’s our goal.”
Alab, powered by imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman and MVP Ray Parks, shrugged off a slow start to claim the crown at the expense of Mono Vampire of Thailand last season.
Balkman, the reigning defensive player of the year, and Parks are returning for another stint with Alab, while Brownlee remains tied up with Barangay Ginebra in the PBA.
Alab has tapped 7-foot-3 Puerto Rican PJ Ramos as their second reinforcement, while adding Caelan Tiongson, who played for Chong Son last season, Ethan Alvano and Brandon Rosser and former La Salle standout Prince Rivero.
“Having PJ gives us a different dynamic as supposed to having Justin,” said Alapag. “Prince, Brandon, Caelan and Ethan give us more versatility and youth.”
Former PBA MVP Eric Menk has also joined Alab as one of Alapag’s assistant coaches.
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