The San Miguel Alab Pilipinas are in a must-win situation if they want to remain in the hunt for the outright semifinals berth.
Currently holding a 13-6 record, a loss to the visiting CLS Knights Indonesia would automatically put them out of contention in the top two spots.
Sunday will mark the second meeting of Alab and the Knights in just a span of four days. In their last meeting, the Philippine team got the upper hand, nabbing the 84-67 win.
Unfortunately, Renaldo Balkman suffered a high ankle sprain forcing him to miss the second half of the contest. With Alab already assured of a seat in the playoffs, it will be interesting to see if they will play Balkman or just simply let him sit out the next contest to rest.
If Balkman isn’t 100 percent, the Knights’ Brian Williams can exploit the paint and have himself a big game. The Knights are out of the playoff race, but Williams has been a consistent presence for them. In his last game, he put up a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds.
With Balkman hobbled by an injury, Alab’s other World Import Justin Brownlee will have to double his efforts in keeping the CLS bigs in check. Brownlee is currently averaging 22.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per contest.
Aside from Brownlee, reigning Local MVP Ray Parks will also have to pick up the slack scoring the basketball. He had a game-high 21 points for the Philippines versus the Knights the last time out.
For the Knights, aside from World Imports Brian Williams and Shane Edwards, Freddie Lish has to show up. After torching the Westports Malaysia Dragons for 28 points in his previous game, Lish was a non-factor against Alab, ending up with just two points on a woeful 1-for-8 shooting clip.
When the two teams met last Wednesday, tempers flared and the intensity in the arena went to another level. With Alab gunning for a semis berth and the Knights wanting to finish their season strong, expect their matchup this Sunday to be nothing short of exciting.