San Miguel Alab Pilipinas ensured that the team would end the year on a high note, winning a hard fought 77-71 decision over the Singapore Slingers in Caloocan Sports Complex, Philippines.
The defending champions, still unbeaten in its first 4 matches this season faced one of the best defensive squads in the ABL, and in true fashion were locked into a tight ballgame with offense not coming easy on any possession. The Slingers, weary from a double-overtime loss to Hong Kong Eastern only 2 days ago looked to recapture the spark that brought them to a five game winning streak, but it wasn’t meant to be.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas was led by a dominating performance from World Import PJ Ramos, who stood tall with 26 points, 17 rebounds and 5 assists. Teammate Renaldo Balkman was effective as well, as he chipped in 20 points and 16 rebounds in the win.
Key for Alab was their three point shooting, which gave them enough of an advantage against the Slingers. The home team made 9 triples, with Ramos leading the way with three trifectas. Singapore on the other hand were only able to muster up 4 triples on 28% shooting.
Critical also to the loss of the Slingers was the team’s creaky free throw shooting. Xavier Alexander was the main culprit. Despite a triple double of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, the World import shot 1/7 from the free throw line. Alexander missed two critical free throws in a row, when the team was trying to rally back from a 12 point deficit with 2:30 remaining in the game.
Alexander would get his own miss on the second bonus, and he found John Fields for a triple that cut the lead down to 4 with 25 seconds reamaining. However the Slingers inexplicably didn’ foul Alab Pilipinas to put the team in penalty, only surrendering a foul to Bobby Ray Parks when there was only 2 seconds remaining and the game out of hand.
John Fields led the way for the Slingers with an impressive performance of 35 points and 7 rebounds. Jerran Young was also solid with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks.
The Slingers dropped its second straight game, falling to 5-3 in the standings. San Miguel Alab Pilipinas remains on top of the standings as the calendar chimes in 2019, with a 4-0 slate.