After their emotionally-charged battle in Vietnam, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas welcomes the Saigon Heat for a crucial battle for both squads.
For the Philippine team, they’ll need to win their last games and hope either Hong Kong Eastern or Chong Son Kung Fu drop most of theirs for a shot at making it to the top two and heading straight to the semifinals. For the Saigon Heat, it’s to finally punch their ticket into the playoffs.
In their last game, Alab’s bench proved to be the big difference as Saigon isn’t really known for it’s depth. The Philippine team’s second unit blasted their counterpart 19-0 in bench points and won the game 95-87, which means the Heat’s starters played better.
Renaldo Balkman had another huge night in Alab’s last loss to Kung Fu with 29 points and 8 rebounds. Now he’ll have the tough task of covering Maxie Esho in what should be a fun duel to witness.
The matchup between Akeem Scott and Justin Brownlee is sure to be a great one as the two World Imports are averaging very similar numbers across the board (Scott: 25.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 52 FG%, Brownlee: 22.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 6.4 apg, 44 FG%). This only means that a slight bump in the numbers of one could mean a big difference in the game.
Alab fans are also hoping that reigning Local MVP Ray Parks finally puts a string of good games together after he scored 19 points against Kung Fu. On the ther hand, Moses Morgan also had one of his best performance of the season with 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field when the Heat defeated the Dragons in their last game.
Lastly, this game will also be the first time that Michael Williams will get to see action in his home country. The Filipino-American who’s averaging 17.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game is surely raring to perform in from of his countrymen although he’s playing for the other side.
The game will be played in USEP Gym, Davao City which is the first time this season. Alab Pilipinas was able to win their lone Davao City game last season against Hong Kong Eastern and hope that the city can still provide winning vibes here in this game.