San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and the Macau Black Bears have split the results of their first two games in the ninth season on the ABL and now they are out to break the tie with the action shifting to the Philippines.
Revenge will be on the mind of Alab as they welcome the Black Bears as they were badly beaten in their last meeting. Macau got the jump at home as they blasted Alab 28-11 in the first quarter of their match last week as they cruised to an easy 116-103 victory.
However, it will be a different match this time around as Alab has not yet lost on their home soil where they are 11-0 thus far. Another big development was the injury suffered by the incomparable Anthony Tucker who will be out for four to six weeks due to a Jones fracture.
Without the former World Import MVP, Macau loses about 25 points and 10 assists per game but they rebounded well after suffering back-to-back losses on the road to the Formosa Dreamers with an 87-62 victory against the Westports Malaysia Dragons last Wednesday.
Instead of figuring out who can step in to score the 25 points they’re missing from Tucker, the Black Bears worked harder on the defensive end as they forced the Dragons to commit 20 turnovers, which they turned into 29 points on the other side. The Black Bears banked on the talented Mikh McKinney who finished with 28 points and nine assists and Ryan Watkins who had 22 points and 19 rebounds.
They also got a lot of help from the locals led by Jenning Leung with 11 points on 3 of 7 shooting from the three-point range.
However, Alab is a very different team compared to the Dragons as they have a much deeper lineup. The defending champs’ two imports combined for 50 points, 25 rebounds, nine steals, and five blocks in their 80-70 win against the Singapore Slingers.
They also got key contributions from Lawrence Domingo who had 12 points and five rebounds as he stepped into the starter spot due to the injury of Caelan Tiongson.
The first two games between the two teams have been pretty comfortable wins for the home squads but, as the ABL fans witnessed last season, Alab and the Black Bears are capable of putting up an instant classic against each other.