San Miguel Alab Pilipinas scored a bounce-back victory as they took care of business at home by hanging on to an 82-75 victory against the Saigon Heat, Sunday night in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
King was back to his high-scoring ways as he led Alab with 26 points and 12 rebounds while shooting an efficient 12 of 18 from the field. Sam Deguara added 15 points, missing only a single shot in eight attempts, while Gray also scored in double-digits with 13.
Jason Brickman had another quiet night from the field with only five points on two of 10 shooting but he made up for it through other means as he picked up six rebounds and dished out a game-high 14 assists.
Prince Williams had a forgettable performance for Alab with only two points in the contest.
The Heat were coming off a slide-ending win against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons in their last game but they were not able to bring the momentum into their next game as Jeremiah Gray started things off with a bang for Alab. After missing on a poster dunk against Malcolm White, the lanky wingman opened the scoring in the game with a triple. He quickly followed it up with a slam dunk that gave them a good rhythm early, unlike what happened in their lackluster performance against the Dragons.
Back-to-back threes from Brickman and Jordan Heading sank back to back triples late in the opening period to give Alab their first double-digit lead of the game at 21-10.
King then took over the offense for Alab in the second period where he dropped 12 points as the home built a 19-point advantage, 50-31, heading into the halftime break. This lead stretched to its biggest at 23 points, 60-37, after another Gray slam dunk.
However, Alab collectively put their foot off the gas pedal perhaps thinking that the margin was enough to win the game.
The Philippine squad led by 17 at the start of the fourth but Saigon refused to go quietly into the night.
Sam Thompson battled back for Saigon as he scored the Heat’s first eight points in the final period to bring their deficit down to 13, 75-62. It was at this point when the Vietnamese locals got in on the action as Justin Young, Khoa Tran, and Chris Dierker scored 11 points in rapid succession to threaten Alab.
A couple of free throws from Thompson, capped a 13-2 run for Saigon as the trimmed Alab’s lead down to four points, 79-75, with 40 seconds left in the match.
Wanting to force an Alab turnover, Saigon employed a full-court press but they over-committed to it as Deguara found himself wide open down low for a slam dunk, which saved the Philippine team from what would have a disastrous loss if the Heat completed the comeback.
Thompson led Saigon with 32 points and 11 rebounds, while Tyshawn Taylor and Malcolm White added a combined 25. Unfortunately for Saigon, their locals only got going when it was a little too late as Tran and Dierker scored all of their combined nine points during their late rally.
The victory for Alab, coupled with the loss for the Taipei Fubon Braves earlier in the day, allowed them to get back to the second spot at 9-5. Saigon, on the other end, is holding a 3-10 win-loss tally.