by Jonas Terrado
Game Wednesday (Southorn Stadium, Hong Kong)
8 p.m. — Hong Kong vs Alab Pilipinas
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat host Hong Kong Eastern, 96-81, to secure its seventh straight victory in the ASEAN Basketball League at Southorn Stadium.
Alab held Hong Kong to just 2-of-16 from the field in the fourth, thus opening the door for the defending champions to break away from a 75-74 lead early in the period to tighten their grip on top spot with a 13-2 record.
Renaldo Balkman finished with 32 points, Ray Parks Jr. had 23 points and seven rebounds and 7-foot-4 PJ Ramos added 11 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists as Alab beat Hong Kong for the third time this season.
The win was the first of scheduled back-to-back meetings between both teams in the former British colony.
Alab and Hong Kong meet again on Wednesday at the same venue.
O’Darien Bassett scored 24 points, including a triple that put Hong Kong within the aforementioned 75-74 deficit in a contest that was tight from the start.
But Hong Kong’s offense sputtered when it needed the most, giving Alab the opportunity to break loose.
Back-to-back baskets by Lawrence Domingo and Josh Urbiztondo and four straight from Balkman gave Alab an 83-74 lead, under five minutes remaining in the fourth.