The Wolf Warriors showed grit and determination early in the game against defending champion San Miguel Alab Pilipinas but eventually ran out of steam in the end game as the league leaders pulled away with a 100-81 victory, Tuesday night at the Doumen Gymnasium in Zhuhai, China.
Alab blitzed the Wolf Warriors to start the match with an 11-0 run with eight points courtesy of Renaldo Balkman. However, the home team fought back fiercely with Cai Chen and Mike Taylor combining for all but two of their 23 first-quarter points as they found themselves only down by three points.
The visiting team got into their rhythm midway through the second period as PJ Ramos started to dominate in the shaded area. Back-to-back baskets from the Alab big man gave his team a 42-30 lead halfway through the second.
Led by Cai and Bell again, the Wolf Warriors made a big move on Alab in the third period with a basket from the import trimming their deficit down to four points, 54-50, but the defending champs slowly rebuilt as they surged ahead by 16 points off a triple from Pao Javelona late in the third period.
Alab broke the game wide open in the fourth period as they led by as much as 21 points before cruising to another victory. It was the Philippine team’s their fifth straight win for a total of 11 victories against only two defeats. The Wolf Warriors remain at the cellar with a single victory in 15 tries.
Already the reigning Player of the Week, Ramos elevated his game even more for Alab with 25 points, 22 rebounds, and seven assists while Balkman posted 34 points and 13 rebounds. Reigning two-time Local MVP Ray Parks missed his third straight game for Alab but they got steady quarterbacking from veteran Josh Urbiztondo who had nine points, six rebounds, and 10 assists.
The problem for the Wolf Warriors was that they did not get enough help from their two other imports. Taylor had 18 points in the game while Mike Bell and Shawntez Patterson only combined for 11 markers on 5 of 23 shooting from the field. The league’s leading local scorer Cai had another fiery performance for the Wolf Warriors with 28 points.
They’ll have to quickly bounce back from this loss as they take on the rejigged Mono Vampire squad with less than 24 hours of rest.