By Jonas Terrado
(MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur)
8:30 p.m. – Malaysia vs Alab Pilipinas
Defending champion San Miguel Alab Pilipinas hurdled the first assignment of a busy month after cruising past China’s Zhuhai Wolf Warriors, 105-95, Sunday night in the ASEAN Basketball League at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Veteran guard Josh Urbiztondo scored 19 points, sparking a pullaway by hitting four of his six threes in the second quarter to keep coach Jimmy Alapag’s squad unbeaten after five games.
Southpaw guard Ethan Alvano had 21 points, seven assists and four steals while import Renaldo Balkman also scored 21 points with seven rebounds and five assists to win the first of a stretch of four games in eight days.
Alab takes on the Westports Malaysia Dragons tomorrow night in Kuala Lumpur followed by quick return home to host Hong Kong Eastern on Friday in Sta. Rosa, Laguna before traveling to Changhua, Taiwan to face the Formosa Dreamers on Sunday.
Surviving the grueling stretch may enhance Alab’s status as favorites to win its second straight crown in the regional league.
The 5-0 mark allowed Alab to tie the best start by a Philippine team since the ABL was founded in 2009.
The Philippine Patriots also won their first five games during the 2010-11 season, but lost to the Thailand Slammers in the finals.
Reigning two-time Local Most Valuable Player Ray Parks Jr. had 12 points while 7-foot-4 import PJ Ramos contributed seven points and 11 rebounds for Alab, which led by a high of 28 points in the second half.
Mike Bell and Chen Cai posted 20 points each and former NBA player Eddy Curry produced 14 points and eight rebounds but the Wolf Warriors dropped to a league-worst 1-9 record.