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Urbiztondo lifts Slingers

Former PBA player Josh Urbiztondo fired 23 points and helped the Singapore Slingers to pull away in the second half for a 92-76 victory over the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions on Saturday in Game 1 of their best-of-five series for the ASEAN Basketball League at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.

Urbiztondo, the only Filipino playing in the finals as a heritage import, set a new league record of seven three-pointers, including three consecutive that allowed the Slingers to turn a 46-42 lead into a 55-42 advantage with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter.

He also made back-to-back threes in the early stages of the fourth, giving Singapore a 74-61 lead that made it more difficult for Hong Kong to come back.

His performance in the series opener should catch the attention of PBA teams back home. Urbiztondo, an eight-year PBA veteran, joined the Slingers after a stint with the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the Philippine Cup.

World import Justin Howard set new finals records of 45 points, erasing the old mark of 39 by Gabe Freeman for the Philippine Patriots against Indonesia’s Satria Muda BritAma in 2010, and 28 rebounds as the Slingers stunned the Long Lions, who had the ABL’s best regular season record at 16-4.

Singapore, which swept Alab Pilipinas in the semifinals, shoots for a commanding 2-0 lead tomorrow night at the same venue.