Locals: Paulo Hubalde, Ray Parks, JR Cawaling, Robby Celiz, Jeric Fortuna, Anthony Gavieres, Jens Knuttel, Jovet Mendoza, Val Acuna, and Hans Thiele
ASEAN Heritage imports: Lawrence Domingo and Igee King
World Imports: Lee Sueng Jun and Lee Dong Jun
After the Philippines’ last place finish in the last season of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), Alab Pilipinas rises up from the ashes to carry the flag for the basketball-crazy nation. During the press conference of the upcoming season, General Manager Charlie Dy openly said that they are expecting to make it at least to the finals as they formed a team with a healthy mix of veterans and young studs eager to prove themselves.
There’s no doubt that this team will be built around Ray Parks who is definitely the most talented local in the entire league. Even if he has yet to play a single game in the ABL, his credentials speak for themselves.
Parks will be a matchup nightmare for the opposing teams because he’s too strong for smaller guards and too quick for forwards. The big question for Parks is how well he’ll mesh with his teammates as he only had a few practices with them.
Alab Pilipinas has a bunch of able point guards. Paolo Hubalde and Jeric Fortuna both have range while Jens Knuttel is an able defender and passer. Their best shooter is Val Acuna who also suited up for the Pilipinas MX3 Kings last season.
The Philippines has an X-factor in Lawrence Domingo. The 6-foot-5 Filipino-American is an energetic player who will not stop chasing loose balls. He can defend multiple positions and also has decent shooting from the outside.
The biggest question for Alab Pilipinas is about their bigs. They wanted to stick with the Asian flavor of the ABL by getting brothers Lee Sueng Jun and Lee Dong Jun. ABL teams usually get their World Imports from the United States but Alab Pilipinas wanted to think outside the box. With imports standing at 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-6, it might be a tough battle inside against the bigger teams like Saigon, for example, with the 7-foot-1 Chris Charles and the 6-foot-8 Lenny Daniel.
Projection: Making it to the top four should be the focus of Alab Pilipinas. They surely have championship dreams but the road to get there will not be easy. They have the talent but they may not have the cohesion just yet. They might have a tough time against teams that have been together for a while like the Singapore Slingers.