Ravena’s immediate impact not enough for Alab to overcome Slingers
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. Justin Howard, Xavier Alexander, and Wong Wei Long proved to be more than enough to bring Singapore to the cusp of the ABL Finals.
SINGAPORE – Kiefer Ravena made an immediate impact in his first game for Alab Pilipinas in the 20216-2017 Asean Basketball League.
However, battle-hardened veterans Xavier Alexander, Justin Howard and Wong Wei Long made an even greater impact for Singapore.
Ravena played well in his debut, but was easily turned back by Singapore’s battle-hardened veterans who were brilliant all throughout in their 77-67 statement win against the Filipinos on Sunday at the OCBC Arena.
Wong had 11 points, all but one in the first half, and got together with Alexander who dropped 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists as well as Howard who posted a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double. The three of them proved to be more than enough to bring the Slingers to the cusp of the ABL Finals.
“I feel we went away from what we’re trying to do. We had a solid gameplan and we didn’t follow it in the first half,” head coach Mac Cuan lamented. “When we started to follow it in the second half, we only did it for a couple of stops.”
The Philippines erected a three-point lead after the first five minutes only to see Wong and Howard connive for eight points in a 12-4 run that snatched away a 19-14 advantage in favor of the home team.
The Singapore lead would balloon to as much as 12 and would only go as low as four in the second quarter and five in the second half. With the strong showing, this was what Josh Urbiztondo, the team’s Asean Heritage Import, had to say, “The team played well and with intensity. We’re a team that plays really well offensively when we get stops and I think that’s just what we did tonight.”
Still, Alab’s debuting 23-year-old did his best to make a game out of it and had 16 points alongside two assists and the same number of rebounds. Only import James Hughes was there to support him, however, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Ray Parks Jr. was visibly limited by a various injuries and only contributed four points in 15 minutes. Already said to be playing through a hurting hip, he sprained his ankle in the third quarter.
Even with the disappointing showing, however, the Filipinos remain confident that they can stay alive when the best-of-three shifts to the Philippines. “As bad as we played, we were there.,” Cuan said.
He then continued, “But still, I challenged them na now in the playoffs, we can’t afford mistakes like we had tonight.”
Singapore shoots for a sweep of the semifinals series at the Baliwag Star Arena on Friday.
SINGAPORE SLINGERS 77 - Alexander 24, Howard 17, Goh 12, Wong 11, Urbiztondo 8, Oh 3, Kwek 2, Folkoff 0, Ng 0,
ALAB PILIPINAS 67 - Ravena 16, Hughes 13, Carter 9, Acuna 9, Domingo 4, Parks Jr. 4, Hubalde 4, Cawaling 4, Celiz 2, Knuttel 2, Fortuna 0, Mendoza 0
QUARTER SCORES: 19-16, 42-31, 61-49, 77-67
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