San Miguel Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag couldn’t be more proud of his team’s effort in their 99-93 Game 3 victory over Mono Vampire Basketball Club on Saturday.
After the highly-contested game, the Filipino basketball legend had high praise for two of his players who saved the day – Justin Brownlee and Ray Parks.
In Game 2 last Wednesday, Brownlee was hobbled by an apparent leg injury and sat out most of the fourth quarter. In his absence, Mono was able to capitalize and tie the series. Brownlee and the rest of Alab looked discouraged as his status for the next game was up in the air.
Fortunately, the injury looked worse than it actually was as Brownlee was back in action just three days later.
“Justin wasn’t a 100 percent. I really don’t have an explanation to describe what type of player and person he is,” Jimmy Alapag shared. “Honestly, my plan wasn’t to play him but he came up to me and he said he was ready to go.”
Brownlee was more than ready, as he logged in 38 minutes, and had an all-around game of 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists.
“I want to give credit to coach Chappy (Callanta). They were really working on Justin non-stop the last 48 hours, trying to manage him the best we could,” relayed Alapag. “I didn’t really have any intention to play him. He pulled me to the side and said coach, ‘I’m going out there.’”
Aside from Brownlee’s herculean effort, Parks was just as heroic in Game 3.
Parks finished with 30 points – the most by a local player in the postseason in league history, including a difficult stepback jumper with 1:16 remaining to give Alab enough cushion. Parks played like the two-time Local MVP that he is.
“I think he’s just continuing to grow as a player. I was fortunate enough to spend time with Ray in the national team and I’ve just been really impressed with his growth,” relayed Alapag. “Tonight, without a doubt, that was just an MVP type of performance.”
“More impressive than the offense was his defense on Jason Brickman,” added the coach.
Parks has taken a backseat scoring the basketball this season but still put out impressive numbers. Throughout the year, they dynamic scorer has stressed that he has taken on the challenge of guarding opposing team’s best players. In the Finals, the is taking on his biggest task yet in trying to shadow the ever-versatile playmaker Jason Brickman.
With Parks becoming a solid two-way player and Brownlee still exceeding expectations despite his injury, Alab is now one win away from claiming the ABL title.
“It’s a quick turnaround. We got 36 hours before Game 4,” Alapag shared. “The biggest thing now is for these guys to recover. We’ll put out our heart and soul on Monday.”