There’s something about going up against Sam Deguara that draws the best from San Miguel Alab Pilipinas behemoth PJ Ramos.
The defending champions of the ABL stayed undefeated at home as they defeated the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club, 88-76, Sunday night at the Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex. Ramos put up monster numbers with 18 points and 19 rebounds as Alab went 2-0 in the season against their fellow former ABL champions.
After a sluggish start, Alab head coach Jimmy Alapag implored his squad to play harder in the second half and they responded in a big way. Up by only four points, 45-41, heading into the halftime break, Alab went on a big 14-0 run in the third period powered by triples from Ramos, Josh Urbiztondo, Renaldo Balkman, and Ethan Alvano to take a commanding 62-45 advantage.
Alab led by as much as 20 points, 75-55, early in the fourth quarter as they cruised to another impressive victory.
Balkman came up three assists shy of a triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists but the two imports got more than enough help from the locals even if Ray Parks was still out with a groin injury. Urbiztondo chipped in 16 points while Lawrence Domingo and Caelan Tiongson both scored 10 points.
Marcus Elliott was the only player to performed well for Hong Kong Eastern as he had 21 points on 9 of 19 shooting from the field. O’Darien Bassett scored in double digits with 14 but it took him 21 shot attempts to get there. Deguara had seven points, all from the free throw line, but he did grab 12 rebounds.
The visitors were without captain Lee Ki and substitute center Cheuk Pan Wu who’ll be out for the rest of the season because of an ACL injury.