San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will end the decade as the hottest team in the ASEAN Basketball League as they scored a gusty 100-99 victory on the road against the Formosa Dreamers, Sunday afternoon at the Changhua Stadium.
Alab looked like they were in control of the contest late in the game as Jason Brickman connected with a triple to extend their lead to eight, 95-87, with only 2:41 left in the game. Then a familiar story played out for Formosa as Anthony Tucker all of a sudden took over the game.
Tucker, who hit the dagger three in their win against the Taipei Fubon Braves the day before, missing his first five three-point attempts in the game. He finally made one as a response to Brickman’s big-time conversion. Sam Deguara then made a basket for Alab but Tucker exploded with three straight triples to give the Dreamers the lead 99-97.
With less than 30 seconds remaining in the match, Alab went back to their World Import Khalif Wyatt who rescued them from defeat in their first two wins against the Macau Wolf Warriors and Singapore Slingers. He would emerge as their hero anew with his own triple off a Brickman assist to retake the lead for the visitors 100-99.
Tucker would get two more looks to try and win the game for the Dreamers but he narrowly missed on both attempts as he was well defended by Brickman. A scramble for the loose ball could have made the difference for Formosa but Jerran Young’s buzzer-beating attempt just fell a little bit short to give Alab the hard-fought victory.
It is now the Philippine team’s fourth straight win after losing their season debut against Mono Vampire. The Dreamers fall to a 2-4 win-loss tally.
Deuara was the big difference for Alab as he put up 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 23 minutes but credit should also go to Lawrence Domingo who was their main man off the bench as the ABL veteran finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Domingo did a great job of playing defense in the shaded area against Formosa’s frontline to give Deguara some time to rest on the bench.
Wyatt and Nick King combined for 36 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists for Alab but it was Brickman who really ran their offense perfectly with 12 points and 12 assists in the game.
Playing the latter game of a back-to-back, the Dreamers did not show any signs of fatigue as they jumped on the Philippine team in the first half. Led by a hot start from Jordan Tolbert and sniping from the outside courtesy of Chang Tsung-Hsien and Yang Cin-Min, Formosa dropped 30 points in the first period. They extended their lead to as many as 17 points in the second, 49-32, after a Tolbert dunk.
Alab gamely battled back, cutting their deficit to just eight, 59-51, at the half and then turned things around to grab a 79-77 advantage at the end of the third period.
Tolbert led Formosa with 25 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the field a day after only scoring six points against the Braves. Tucker finished with a triple-double of 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists but Jerran Young struggled with only six points although he did grab 12 rebounds.
Chang and Yang combined for 27 points to lead the locals for Formosa with Tien Lei and Wu Sung Wei chipping in 19 points off the bench.
Another edition of the Taiwan Tussle will open the new year for the ABL with the Formosa Dreamers facing off against their rival Taipei Fubon Braves on January 3 at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium. Alab, on the other end, will start its 2020 campaign at home against the Macau Wolf Warriors on January 5.