After enduring their first loss of the season, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas are looking to bounce back against a streaking Hong Kong Eastern squad this Friday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Laguna, Philippines.
The defending champions’ blazing 5-0 start came to an abrupt end last Wednesday as they lost to the Westports Malaysia Dragons on the road.
Jonathan Wong played the best game of his young ABL career as he lifted the Dragons to a thrilling 72-71 victory over the Philippines. Wong ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and hit the go-ahead basket with 18.1 seconds left to give Malaysia the win.
Renaldo Balkman was once again superb with a 31-point, 14-rebound performance. Unfortunately, the lack of local support led to the demise of the Philippines versus Malaysia. No Filipino local scored more than six points, including a 5-point outing from two-time Local MVP Ray Parks. Parks has been relatively quiet so far this season but he still has the ability to light up the scoreboard when needed. Aside from scoring, Parks can still influence the game in a number of ways, including defending, rebounding, or finding open teammates. The Alab veteran will need to bring his A-game against Hong Kong.
After a slow start, Eastern have found their groove. From a dismal 3-4 standing, they’ve won four straight for a 7-4 record. Their recent win was an impressive showing against the Singapore Slingers. O’Darien Bassett fired away 26 points, including four triples, while adding three rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in Eastern’s 82-72 win. Hong Kong’s latest addition has been looking more and more comfortable with his new squad. Bassett is an excellent playmaker and scorer, and his ball handling has put some pressure off of Marcus Elliott as the team’s main instigator on offense. Elliott and Bassett are both scoring guards but they are also willing passers that can get everyone involved.
The defending champions are eager to bounce back from their humbling defeat while Hong Kong Eastern look to extend their winning streak to five games.