Tanduay Alab Pilipinas traveled on the road to the CIS Arena for the first time this season and picked up a 95-87 victory over the Saigon Heat.
In an intense affair even before the official tipoff, Alab leaned on the rock solid pair of World Imports in Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman. Balkman paced the squad with 26 points and 20 rebounds, along with 6 assists, 4 steals and a block. Brownlee also contributed greatly with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
Brownlee helped Alab break open a tight 47-42 game in the third period. The world import had seven points in the third quarter, as Alab outscored the Heat 28-16 in the quarter, as the Heat were unable to keep in step with the visitors.
Alab had the opportunity to seal the game down the stretch, but critical free throw misses from Brownlee andParks left the door open for the Heat down 5, 92-87 with 24 seconds remaining. However after a missed Esho triple and Balkman made free throws, Alab walked away with with the victory.
Depth was an issue for the Heat, as they went with only six players fielded in the entire game. Only four players scored for majority of the game for Saigon, as Akeem Scott, Maxie Esho and Moses Morgan carried the load for their squad. The missing piece once again was Mike Williams, as he finished with nine points on 3/16 shooting.
But the formula that helped the Heat deal losses to Chong Son Kung-Fu and Hong Kong Eastern worked for awhile against Alab as Esho and Scott were unstoppable in the first half. Alab countered their scoring by getting solid contributions from Lawence Domingo, Josh Urbiztondo and reigning Local MVP Ray Parks.
Domingo had arguably his best game of the season so far, as he tallied 14 points on a sparkling 7/9 shooting. Parks played tough defense on his defensive assignments on the Heat and also contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Urbiztondo was his usual scorching self from beyond the arc, notching 13 points on 3/5 from the perimeter.
Morgan led the Heat in a splendid scoring performance as he notched 27 points and 5 rebounds. However Morgan injured his hand towards the end of the third period, limiting his effectivity in the payoff period. Scott had 26 points and 7 rebounds, while Esho patroled the paint with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals.
The bench of the Heat was a non-factor, as only Horace Nguyen was deployed by Coach Kyle Julius in 18 minutes of action. He would go scoreless, as Alab’s bench outscored their counterparts 19-0.
Alab’s victory is their third straight, and they climb to 6-4 in the standings. The Heat lost their third straight game, falling to 5-4 in the on-going ABL season.