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Uphill battle for Alab

Game Today
(Southorn Stadium, Hong Kong)
8 p.m. – Hong Kong vs Alab Pilipinas

Alab Pilipinas faces an uphill climb in trying to end its struggles as it begins a series of matches with the league-best Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions tonight in the ASEAN Basketball League at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.

The Filipino squad hopes to be in near-perfect form against the fancied Long Lions in their 8 p.m. encounter set in the Hong Kong district of Wan Chai after dropping three of its last four games, including a difficult 101-91 overtime loss to the Westports Malaysia Dragons last Sunday.

Alab is in third place at 9-7 and is still in contention to secure a homecourt advantage in the best-of-three semifinals, being 1 1/2-game back of the second-running Singapore Slingers, who have an 11-6 slate.

However, if coach Mac Cuan, Ray Parks Jr. and imports Sampson Carter and James Hughes and the rest of Alab couldn’t solve its woes, it may fall in danger of dropping to fourth with the 6-9 Saigon Heat flirting at overtaking them before the end of the four-round regular season.

“The problem is that we think we are good. We’re not. If we were good, we would have blown out Malaysia. If we play this way against Hong Kong, we’ll be blown out,” Cuan said after Alab’s defeat to Malaysia at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.

And it comes at the worst time since it plays a Hong Kong team that seems to be unstoppable with its 13-2 record.

After tonight’s game, the Long Lions and Alab travel to Manila to play a Sunday night game in Sta. Rosa, Laguna before facing each other on March 19 in Davao City.

Hong Kong possesses a talented roster led by Americans Marcus Elliott and Josh Boone, a former PBA import of the San Miguel Beermen in 2014, Thai-American Tyler Lamb and local Chan Siu Wing.

The Long Lions also won the first meeting against Alab in convincing fashion via a 93-80 loss last Jan. 22 amid cold conditions in the former British colony.

Elliott fired 21 of his 29 points in the first half while Lamb added 23 as Hong Kong led by a high of 29 to frustrate Alab.