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Alab PH eyes title

by Jonas Terrado

Game Today (Stadium 29, Nonthaburi)
4:30 p.m. – Mono Vampire
vs Alab Pilipinas

Series Summary:
Game 1: Alab Pilipinas 143, Mono Vampire 130, OT
Game 2: Mono Vampire 103, Alab Pilipinas 100
Game 3: Alab Pilipinas 99, Mono Vampire 93

SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas guard Ray Parks (left) defends against fellow Fil-American Jason Brickman during Game 3 of the ASEAN Basketball League finals in Nonthaburi, Thailand. The Filipinos won, 99-93. (ABL photo)

SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas guard Ray Parks (left) defends against fellow Fil-American Jason Brickman during Game 3 of the ASEAN Basketball League finals in Nonthaburi, Thailand. The Filipinos won, 99-93. (ABL photo)

BANGKOK – San Miguel Alab Pilipinas vows to give every ounce of energy just to complete the improbable rise from a 0-3 start as it looks to close out Mono Vampire and capture the ASEAN Basketball League today in Game 4 of their best-of-five finals at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Though bracing for another tough game in front of a raucous home crowd in the 3:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. Manila time) match, Alab coach Jimmy Alapag expects his team to come out with a businesslike approach in their bid to become the third Filipino club to win the regional league.

The Philippine Patriots, coached by Louie Alas, won the league’s inaugural season in 2010 before the Asi Taulava-powered San Miguel Beermen claimed the title in 2013.

“One step away from completing the mission,” said Alapag. “We’ll put everything we had out there, our heart and soul on that court. We’re up against a great team so we’ll need a better effort.”

Alab moved on the cusp of ending the Philippines’ five-year dryspell with a hard-fought 99-93 victory two days ago behind the clutch baskets of Local Most Valuable Player Ray Parks Jr., Renaldo Balkman’s all-around effort, and a courageous showing by an injured Justin Brownlee.

Parks scored 30 points, including eight straight during the fourth quarter that ultimately decided the contest, to set a league playoff record for a local player while Brownlee played as if he didn’t suffer a strained right hamstring.

But putting the hammer on Mono is easier said than done, especially with Alab looking to deal its biggest concern which is containing Fil-American guard Jason Brickman.

While 7-foot-5 Sam Deguara, former PBA import Mike Singletary and Filipino guard Paul Zamar are also players to worry, Brickman seems to be one who make things work for the Thai club with his court smarts. He had 11 points and 12 assists in Game 3.

“This team forces you to stay in tune to the game for the full 40 minutes, because if you don’t and you relax, they’ll make you pay for it,” said Alapag.

Mono’s American coach Douglas Marty said his team is embracing the challenge of trying to prevent Alab on its first crack at the crown and force a deciding fifth game Wednesday in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

“We’re confident. We know the challenge is big, but we like that,” said Marty. “We’re really happy to be here and have a chance in the finals. Game 5 doesn’t exist. There’s no reason to think about two games. We’d love to get a ticket back to the Philippines. It comes down to Monday, if we’re gonna earn it.”

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