Brownlee, Balkman help Alab get its first-ever playoff win

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 01, 2018 11:26 PM
Brownlee, Balkman help Alab get its first-ever playoff win
Justin Brownlee was a big part of Alab Pilipinas' breakthrough in the playoffs

History was made on Sunday inside the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Getting the better of Saigon, 110-100, in the quarterfinals opener of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League, Alab Pilipinas scored its first playoff win in its two years of existence.

The Filipinos made the playoffs in their maiden campaign a year ago, but got swept in the best-of-three series.

Now, they raise their post-eliminations record to 1-2.

For American reinforcement Justin Brownlee, the win was special – even though he was a little late in fully grasping its significance. Told that he had just helped the new Philippine representatives to their first-ever playoff win, he reacted, “That was the first-ever? Oh wow!”

He then continued, “It’s special, man. It always feels great to be the first to be able to do something.”

And one win away from winning their first-ever playoff series, Brownlee said this is just the start for them. “This just shows the character of this team. Hopefully, there’s gonna be a lot more playoff wins in the near future,” he said.

Indeed, Puerto Rican reinforcement Renaldo Balkman also said this is far from the end for Alab. As he put it, “It’s a great win tonight, but we gotta take care of business on Saturday so we keep moving forward.”

Even Ray Parks Jr., who has been with the squad for both of its two seasons, wasn’t celebrating just yet. “It feels great, but we have to continue to grow. We can’t overlook our opponent because they’re a great team and they got firepower,” he said.

That is exactly why, even after the 10-point margin of victory, head coach Jimmy Alapag vowed that his wards will be much more determined and disciplined in Game 2 next Saturday at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “I’m happy we won, but from an effort standpoint, we were far from the sharpest we could be,” he said.

He then continued, “That’s on me. We will prepare better for (the next game).”

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