San Miguel Alab Pilipinas remained undefeated on their home floor following a 111-87 rout against the visiting Saigon Heat, Sunday night at the Lapu-Lapu Sports Complex in Cebu, Philippines.
With the win, the defending champions are an immaculate 10-0 at home and continue to pace the league with a 12-2 record.
Alab set the tone early, unloading 33 points in the first 10 minutes of play. PJ Ramos attacked the Heat inside-out and scored 14 of his game-high 30 points in the opening fray. The 7-foot-3 behemoth was on point all night long, shooting 14-for-20 from the field while also pulling down 18 rebounds. Two-time Local MVP Ray Parks returned to the lineup with a vengeance as he too had a solid first period for the Philippine squad. Parks finished with 23 points while also dishing out seven assists.
Staring at a 53-33 deficit at the start of the second half, the Heat went to their 3-point arsenal to make their way back into the game. They blitz the third period with three straight triples, two from Trevon Hughes and the other from Chris Dierker to make it into an 11-point game. The visiting team continued to bombard the defending champions with haymakers in that critical period, knocking down a total of nine triples. They got to within eight points twice but Alab just had too many weapons to maintain the lead. Even after Dierker connected on another shot from rainbow country to make it 72-64 with two minutes left in the quarter, Ramos answered immediately with a layup and a dunk. For every Heat long bomb, Ramos and company were there to counter.
The Philippines restored order in the final frame. If Ramos did the early work, it was Renaldo Balkman who provided the finishing touch. The MVP contender uncorked 13 of his 29 points in the fourth, highlighted by an and-1 play just under three minutes remaining to push the lead to 24 points, essentially putting the game out of reach. Balkman also added seven rebounds and five assists.
For the Heat, Dierker stood out with 20 points while going 4-of-8 from deep. Hughes and fellow World Import Murphy Burnatowski scored a total of 35 points but were a combined 9-of-28. De Angelo Hamilton returned to the Saigon roster, replacing the injured Kyle Barone and had himself 15 points and eight rebounds. The Heat have now lost three in a row and drop to 10-7.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas go for their seventh straight win when they go up against Hong Kong Eastern this Friday while the struggling Heat will head to Singapore to take on the Slingers on Sunday.