Balkman, Brownlee deliver as Alab draws first blood vs Saigon

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 01, 2018 09:59 PM
Balkman, Brownlee deliver as Alab draws first blood
Renaldo Balkman was a force inside as Alab Pilipinas overpowered visiting Saigon

Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee both did what was expected of them in the curtain-raiser for the playoffs of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League.

The rest of Alab Pilipinas only followed suit as they took care of business against visiting Saigon, 110-100, on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

With their team opening the best-of-three quarterfinals series at home, the Puerto Rican and the American didn’t let the jam-packed crowd down and stood at the forefront of the attack for the Filipinos.

Trailing by one at the midway mark of the opening period, Brownlee took on the scoring load and fired eight points in the 17-5 run that took away a 28-17 lead for his team.

Balkman also did his part and already had an 11-point, 16-rebound double-double after the first two quarters.

In the second half, Ray Parks Jr. and Dondon Hontiveros then joined in on the fun as the Alab lead ballooned to as much as 22, 97-75, early in the final frame.

Akeem Scott still pulled Saigon to within 10, 96-106, inside the last two minutes only to see makes from Parks Jr. and Brownlee put them away for good.

Parks Jr. topped the scoring column for the Filipinos with 24 points while Brownlee stuffed the stat sheet with 22 markers, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.

Balkman was a force down low with 17 points, 20 rebounds, and six assists and was backstopped by Lo Domingo who had 18 markers and six boards to his name.

Alab will travel to Vietnam next Saturday for a chance to sweep the series and move on to a matchup with second-seeded and defending champion Hong Kong. As always, that game will be on S+A, S+A HD, and sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/abl.

Maxie Esho paced the Heat with a career-high 42 points while Scott and Filipino-American Mikey Williams chipped in 19 points apiece.

However, they were unable to overcome the loss of head coach Kyle Julius who was ejected after incurring technical fouls, both for continuous complaining, in the first and second quarters.

BOX SCORES

SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS 110 – Parks Jr. 24, Brownlee 22, Domingo 18, Balkman 17, Hontiveros 8, Raymundo 7, Sumalinog 6, Javelona 5, Celiz 3

SAIGON HEAT 100 – Esho 42, Scott 19, Williams 19, Morgan 16, Nguyen 3, Arnold 1

QUARTER SCORES: 30-24, 57-47, 90-72, 110-100

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