By Jonas Terrado
STA. ROSA, Laguna – Renaldo Balkman remained confident despite blowing a chance of taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the ASEAN Basketball League after San Miguel Alab Pilipinas suffered a 103-100 loss to Mono Vampire Wednesday at the City of Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex here.
Alab had difficulty containing 7-foot-5 center Sam Deguara, who overcame foul trouble by converting a three-point play with a minute left that put the club from Thailand in front for good, while seeing a hobbling Justin Brownlee miss two three-pointers in the dying seconds.
Both teams will break their 1-1 tie tomorrow afternoon at the Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“It ain’t over yet. Trust me, it ain’t over yet,” Balkman said after finishing with 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
“We can’t hold our heads down. We gotta keep positive, keep focus on our goal,” added the former New York Knicks cager, who before the game was named co-Defensive Player of the Year. “It’s gonna be another game on Saturday, and in our eyes its’ 0-0 right now. We gotta go there and win a game too.”
Alab coach Jimmy Alapag praised Mono for overcoming repeated rallies by the Filipino club and the boisterous home crowd with Fil-American guard Jason Brickman playing with precision, Filipino guard Paul Zamar making key plays and ex-PBA import Mike Singletary knocking down clutch shots.