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Alab Pilipinas escapes Slingers in OT

Game Wednesday (The Arena, San Juan)
8 p.m. – Alab Pilipinas vs Singapore

Justin Brownlee (photo by Peter Paul Baltazar)

Justin Brownlee (photo by Peter Paul Baltazar)

Justin Brownlee once again showcased his winning pedigree yesterday as he ignited a decisive run at the start of overtime to lead Tanduay Alab Pilipinas past the Singapore Slingers, 89-80, for its third straight win in the ASEAN Basketball League at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.

Brownlee wasted no time taking over in the extra five-minute period by scoring back-to-back baskets before finding Renaldo Balkman that enabled Alab to regain control after regulation play ended at 78-all on a three-pointer by Singapore’s Fil-American guard AJ Mandani.

Ray Parks Jr. would complete the run with a three-point play off a Mandani foul with 1:13 remaining in the extension to give Alab an 87-78, virtually continuing its impressive run of form after starting the ABL season with three consecutive losses.

Alab, which avenged its 97-83 loss to the Slingers last Nov. 29 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, moved to solo fourth behind unbeaten defending champion Hong Kong Eastern (7-0), first-year Chinese club Chong Son Kung Fu (4-0) and Thailand’s Mono Vampire (5-3).

Both teams will meet again on Wednesday when Alab hosts the latter half of their home-and-home series at The Arena in San Juan.

Brownlee bucked a 7-of-20 shooting to finish with 17 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks in his second game since joining the Jimmy Alapag-coached Alab at the start of the calendar year.

Balkman, also making his second appearance with the team, led all scorers with 26 points while adding eight rebounds and four steals. Parks finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Two-time World Import Chris Charles produced 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in his first game but couldn’t lead Singapore to a second consecutive win against Alab this season. The Slingers dropped to 3-5.

Xavier Alexander, the Slingers’ other world import, almost had his second straight triple-double against Alab with 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. But he shot 2-of-19 from the field, with Brownlee clamping down on the veteran forward.

The game could have ended in regulation after Robby Celiz hit his only basket of the game on a corner three off a Parks kickout with 50 seconds left in the fourth to put Alab in front, 78-75.

Brownlee nearly iced the game but his running shot rimmed out, opening the door for Mandani to score a game-tying three from the right elbow, 13 seconds remaining. Brownlee found Josh Urbiztondo from the corner but his shot was deflected by a Slinger defender to force overtime.

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