By JONAS TERRADO
(Sta. Rosa, Laguna)
8 p.m. – Alab Pilipinas vs Mono Vampire
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas hopes to hurdle a large obstacle tonight and gain a headstart in its best-of-five finals showdown with Thailand’s Mono Vampire in the ASEAN Basketball League at the City of Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Coach Jimmy Alapag is hoping that to see Alab successfully neutralize Mono’s 7-foot-5 center Samuel Deguara in the series that begins at 8 p.m. in one of Laguna’s bustling cities and set the tone for the showdown featuring teams that found the right groove late in the season.
Deguara was mainly responsible for sending Mono to the finals when his buzzer-beating basket off a foul propelled the Thai club to a thrilling 83-80 win over Chong Son Kung Fu that completed a sweep of their best-of-three semifinal series.
Import Renaldo Balkman, who starred in Alab’s sweep of deposed champion Hong Kong Eastern in the semis, and local center JR Alabanza are expected to share the duties in trying to make the Maltan cager work for his baskets.