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Alab back with vengeance

Game Sunday
(Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
8 p.m. – Kaohsiung vs Alab Pilipinas

Alab Pilipinas finally showcased the fighting spirit that sorely lacked in its previous six games and stunned the league-leading Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions, 82-75, Sunday night to clinch the No. 3 seed in the semifinals in the ASEAN Basketball League in Davao City.

Imports Sampson Carter and James Hughes and Robby Celiz stepped up in the final three minutes as Alab finally found a way to beat the talented Hong Kong after four tries and snap a three-game losing skid.

Carter had 20 points, Hughes picked up 17 points and 14 rebounds while Celiz added 17 points for Alab, which improved to 10-9 to secure a best-of-three semifinal duel with the No. 2-ranked Singapore Slingers in a best-of-three semifinal series early next month.

Singapore, which currently has a 12-7 record, holds the homecourt advantage and split their four meetings with Alab in the quadruple-round eliminations.

Alab entered the match having lost five of its last six, including back-to-back defeats to Hong Kong by an average margin of 17 points per game.

Hong Kong played without center Josh Boone, a double-double performer who is nursing back spasms, for the second straight game, but Alab coach Mac Cuan said that the effort his players displayed in front of a big crowd at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym made a difference.