MANILA – San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas suffered its first defeat in the 2018-2019 ASEAN Basketball League following a 71-72 loss to Westport Malaysian Dragons on Wednesday night at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.
Holding to a slim 71-70 advantage after an inside conversion by Peter John Ramos, the Dragons came up with a retaliation on a layup by Jonathan Wong with 18 seconds left in the match.
The Alab Pilipinas still has a chance to snatch the victory but Ethan Alvano committed a crucial turnover on a wayward pass to his teammates Renaldo Balkman and Caelan Tiongson.
Wong finished the match with 21 points, while Nnanna Egwu and Chris Eversley contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively, for the Dragons, which improved to 3-3 win-loss slate.
Balkman led the way with double-double 31 points and 14 rebounds, while Ramos added 16 markers and 11 boards for Alab Pilipinas, which remained on top with 5-1 win-loss slate.
Back-to-back MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who is recently involved in a controversy with his PBA team Blackwater Elite, struggled heavily against the Malaysians as he was held to just five points.
Both teams had a tight exchange almost the entire game before the Dragons surged to a 70-67 with over a minute left in the match. Alab was able to take the lead for the last time at 71-70 on back-to-back hits by Balkman and Ramos.
The Alab Pilipinas will just have a brief rest as they will return to action tonight against the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions at Sta. Rosa, Laguna./PN