By Jonas Terrado
(Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu)
8 p.m. – Alab Pilipinas vs Hong Kong
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas looks to shake off its late regular season swoon and draw first blood against Hong Kong Eastern in the opener of their best-of-three ASEAN Basketball League quarterfinal series at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Alab tries to move a win away from advancing to the semifinals in the 8 p.m. match but its resolve will be tested after ending the regular season with four straight defeats.
Coach Jimmy Alapag is hoping that Alab can use the three victories over Hong Kong to their advantage with imports PJ Ramos and Renaldo Balkman and Ray Parks Jr. leading the charge.
Ethan Alvano, Caelan Tiongson and Josh Urbiztondo will also play crucial roles ahead of the difficult task of stopping Hong Kong’s main weapons.
Imports Marcus Elliott, O’Darien Bassett and 7-foot-5 Sam Deguara will lead Hong Kong’s quest to score an upset.
Game 2 is set Wednesday at Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong with a deciding Game 3, if necessary, set for April 7 at The Arena in San Juan City.
Alab was relegated to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs after ending the regular season at 18-8.
Multiple injuries contributed to Alab’s slump after dominating most of the way.
Hong Kong went 13-13 to place seventh in the standings.
One of its wins came against Alab at home last Feb. 13, 88-83, preventing a season sweep.