San Miguel Alab Pilipinas is out for revenge as they welcome the Westports Malaysia Dragons to their lair at the Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.
In their first meeting, Alab suffered their first loss of the season as they were shocked at the MABA Stadium by the fiery Dragons led by Jonathan Wong. The local guard scored 21 points in the game including the winning basket to lead Westports Malaysia to a 72-71 victory. What made the win more impressive was that the Dragons only played two imports in the match like Alab as Winston Shepard was not available for the contest.
However, the Dragons have fallen on tough times as of late. After picking up a three-game winning streak and sneaking into the top three spot, they’ve lost their last two games against the Saigon Heat and the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club. Their road tour continues in the Philippines.
The problem for the Dragons is that they started slow in their last two losses. Saigon got the jumped on Westports Malaysia as they opened the game with a 20-0 run while Hong Kong Eastern immediately built a 16-3 lead in the first few minutes. If the Dragons didn’t allow these runs, they could have had the shot to win the game.
A good sign for them tough is the stellar play of Shepard as of late. The talented import finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. Nnanna Egwu was also impressive in their last game with 20 points on 3 of 9 shooting from the three-point range.
Currently, Alab is still the top team in the league with an 8-2 win-loss tally while the Dragons have fallen to the seventh spot with an even 5-5.
While Renaldo Balkman continues to be the focal point of the offense for Alab and a lot of attention will still have to be paid on PJ Ramos, the Dragons need to be wary of Ethan Alvano who’s getting into a groove as of late, specially in the assist department.
The guard is averaging 9.3 assists in their last three games as he’s keeping the Alab offense flowing and the defense honest.
It should be a very interesting meeting with the Dragons hoping to halt their slide and Alab looking to even the score against their fellow former ABL champion.