San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will have revenge on their minds as they visit the Kuala Lumpur Dragons once again after they were embarrassed in their first meeting at the MABA Stadium.
Alab is still sitting at the second spot in the ABL team standings, just behind Mono Vampire, with their 9-5 win-loss tally. The Dragons, on the other end, are tied with the Singapore Slingers and the Macau Black Bears for the fifth to seventh spots with their 7-7 records.
Both teams have won three of their last five games prior to their rematch.
In their first meeting, the Dragons got hot early in the game and never looked back as they dealt Alab their worst loss of the season so far, 91-63. In that game, Kuala Lumpur shot well from the outside with 11 triples compared to only six for Alab. They also took full advantage of the Philippine team’s mistakes as they scored 20 points off turnovers.
The Dragons were a recipient of good news and bad news in their last game. The good news was that they won the Straits Cup for the first time in four years but the bad news was that they lost a tough game to the Singapore Slingers in overtime, 88-87. It was another action-packed duel that Kuala Lumpur almost had one but a missed box out from Will Artino led to an end-game tip-in from Anthony McClain to win the game.
Alab, on the other end, managed to bounce back well after their last loss to the Dragons. They took their frustrations out on the Saigon Heat as they pounced on them for the first three quarters. However, the Philippine squad took their foot off the gas pedal in the fourth, allowing the Heat to get back into the contest. Luckily for Alab though, San Deguara made a huge basket in the end game to preserve the win, 82-75.
With the Dragons compiling a 2-1 record last week, Artino was named the ABL’s Player of the Week. He averaged 23.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game with a high of 32 points in their first game against the Slingers. Artino continues to be the most reliable big man World Import in the ABL.
Artino’s scoring slowed down in the second match against Singapore as the Slingers paid more attention to him. However, they still had a great shot at winning the game as Cade Davis scorched hot from the outside, finishing with 37 points on nine of 14 shooting from the three-point range. He also torched Alab in their initial meeting so he’ll be a marked man in their rematch.
One of the great matchups in this game features two ace playmakers in Amir Bell and Jason Brickman. The two-point guards have the respective keys to their system as everything starts from them. Bell has the better all-around numbers with 16.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game but Brickman has also been impressive with norms of 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 9.1 assists.
Alab was lifted in their last game with a tremendous performance from Nick King who was all over the floor against the Heat en route to 26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and four steals. The question about King was never about his talent but about his ability to be consistent. He has had his ups and downs in the season, which also greatly affects the consistency of Alab.
The biggest news heading into this matchup was the return of an ABL champion as Justin Brownlee replaced Prince Williams for Alab. Together with Renaldo Balkman, Brownlee led the Philippine team to the ABL title two seasons ago where he averaged 21.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks.
The roster change has already been deemed official by the ABL but it is not known yet if Brownlee will make it in time to help Alab go up against the Dragons