Balkman, Brownlee are Alab’s avengers against Hong Kong

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 10, 2018 05:54 PM
Balkman, Brownlee are Alab’s avengers against Hong Kong
Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee will, at long last, get their hands on defending champion Hong Kong (Photo courtesy of ABL)

Alab Pilipinas is back in the semifinals now in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League.

To make the franchise’s first-ever Finals, though, they will have to go through defending champion Hong Kong.

Yes, the defending champion Hong Kong which had swept them in two games in the eliminations.

For head coach Jimmy Alapag, however, the Filipinos wouldn’t have it any other way. “As an athlete and a basketball player, that’s what you want. You want to play the best and we’ll play the best on Wednesday,” he said.

Even though they are winless up against Eastern this season, the Philippines remains upbeat about its chances. “It’s gonna be a show ‘cause we give our best and give a show for the fans. It’s gonna be a good one,” Puerto Rican reinforcement Renaldo Balkman said.

He then continued, “They haven’t seen us. This will be our first time playing them and their first time playing us so it’s gonna be a good one.”

Balkman and Justin Brownlee were not yet with Alab when they faced off with Hong Kong early in the season.

Then, with Ivan Johnson and Reggie Okosa as imports, Alab fell to Hong Kong 96-99 and then 89-92.

Since welcoming Balkman and Brownlee, however, the Filipinos have had the best record in the league at 15-3, including two playoff wins.

And fresh off an emphatic quarterfinals sweep of Saigon, they feel they have a good shot at dethroning the defending champions. As Balkman put it, “Listen man, that was last year when they won. This is a whole new year.”

He then continued, “They were the champions last year, but until they win again, we’re all fighting for the same thing, baby. They won (last year), but it’s 0-0 on Wednesday.”

Game 1 of the semis showdown between the Philippines and Eastern is scheduled for Wednesday at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong. Game 2 then swings back to the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna on Sunday.

As always, all of the action in the ABL will be on S+A, S+A HD, and lvia livestream.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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