San Miguel Alab Pilipinas escaped with a thrilling 77-76 win over Hong Kong Eastern at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
The two teams figured in one of the most exciting games of the season. It featured lead changes, deadlocks, and comebacks from both teams until eventually, the visiting Philippine-based squad was able to come out on top. However, Hong Kong definitely didn’t make it easy for them.
Free throws from World Import Nick King at the 9:12 mark of the 3rd quarter gave Alab Pilipinas its biggest lead of the game at 19 points, 49-30. At that point, Hong Kong Eastern’s offense was in a funk, and generating any kind of offense was a chore. But all of a sudden, Brandis Raley-Ross, Michael Holyfield and Brandon Costner came alive, presiding over a 17-3 run to get their squad back in the game, only down by six points at the 5:18 mark of the period.
A booming triple from Costner to start the 4th quarter tied up the game at 63-all, and that kickstarted a thrilling back and forth battle in the final period. Clutch baskets from John Siu and Raley-Ross would give Hong Kong a three-point lead entering the final three minutes, 74-71.
However, the response came from Alab Pilipinas, as Nick King and Sam Deguara would score four unanswered points, to restore a one-point lead, 77-76. And with Alab Pilipinas needing a defensive stop to seal the game, they got exactly that as Jeremiah Gray swatted away a potential game-winning triple attempt from Siu, preserving the big win for Alab Pilipinas.
King led Alab Pilipinas in scoring with a team-high 24 points, while new import Prince Williams had a solid debut tallying 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Jason Brickman had one of the most unique stat lines this season. Though the former Finals MVP only had 2 points, he had 16 assists in the contest, living up to his billing as the team’s maestro. Jeremiah Gray and Sam Deguara were also instrumental in the win, with 11 and 12 points respectively.
Raley-Ross had another brilliant performance with 33 points, on 12 of 32 shooting from the field. The prolific import also led the squad with 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Costner had 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Holyfield had a double-double of 13 points and 19 rebounds.
Brickman’s impact on the game was seen in Alab Pilipinas’ assist totals as they had 28 dimes compared to only 13 for Hong Kong. Alab Pilipinas also shot better from the field, as they totaled 44% from the field, while Hong Kong shot 34%.
The win pushes San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to second place, with a 6-3 record, while Hong Kong Eastern drops to ninth place with a 3-5 card. Both teams will be back in action on Sunday, as Hong Kong Eastern battles the Macau Black Bears, and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas takes on Mono Vampire.