Lucky Alab survives Saigon
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag minced no words after his squad averted a fourth-quarter collapse on Sunday night against the last-place team in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Season 10.
“We should’ve lost tonight,” a relieved Alapag told reporters after Alab walked out of the Santa Rosa Sports Complex with an 82-75 victory over the Saigon Heat for their ninth win in 14 games.
“No one from our side played well in the second half. We got outplayed by Saigon with only one import and we’re lucky to walk away with the win.”Alab nearly wasted a 23-point lead in the second half as Saigon came roaring back to within four points, 75-79, with 40 seconds remaining on Sam Thompson’s two foul shots.
Sam Deguara’s dunk with 34 seconds left restored order for Alab, which is now in second spot behind Mono Vampire of Thailand.
“This has been the story of our season at this point,” Alapag said. “We just can’t consistently play at a high level. We can’t keep going up and down because against the good teams in the league, you’ll lose. The great teams find a way to be consistent.”
Alapag said they are still open to the possibility of having Justin Brownlee back for another tour of duty. Nick King finished with 26 points for Alab, but another reinforcement, Prince Williams, wound up with only two points.
“It’s something we need to discuss,” Alapag said on Brownlee’s return. “I’ll have to check with management on his availability.”
King and Jeremiah Gray led a fiery start for Alab. Bouncing back from a sub-par showing in the loss to the Kuala Lumpur Dragons on the road last Tuesday, King poured 20 of his 26 points in the first half, while fellow import Deguara finished with 15 points.
King also grabbed 12 boards and got four steals, while Jason Brickman finished with a game-high 14 assists.
Gray also dished out 13 points, including seven in the first quarter where Alab took its first double-digit lead at 21-10 on Jordan Heading’s three-pointer.
The advantage ballooned to 23 with Gray’s dunk at the 6:01 mark of the third, making it a 60-37 lead for Alab. INQ