ABL: Alab has no answer for 7-5 Deguara as Mono evens Finals series

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 25, 2018 10:27 PM
ABL: Alab has no answer for 7-5 Deguara as Mono evens Finals
Sam Deguara could not be contained and claimed both momentum and homecourt advantage for Thailand

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA - Sam Deguara has been, literally, the biggest difference in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball Finals.

Fouling out in the endgame the last time around, the 7-foot-5 made sure to wreak havoc all game long in this one to tow Thailand’s Mono Vampire to a gritty 103-100 victory versus Alab Pilipinas on Wednesday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.

Deguara towered above all of Renaldo Balkman, Lo Domingo, and JR Alabanza to pound in 30 points, 20 rebounds, and five blocks and ultimately lifted the Thais into evening the best-of-five series at 1-1.

It was also the reinforcement from Malta who made good on the basket and bonus that broke off a tied tally of 98-all and built up a 101-98 advantage in his team’s favor with 1:10 remaining.

Balkman came right back with a short stab in the next possession, but that would be the last bucket the Filipinos would hit as Ray Parks Jr. and Justin Brownlee botched their attempts in the dying moments.

Deguara had backup as American import Mike Singletary and Filipino import Paul Zamar scored 26 and 12 points, respectively.

Filipino-American Jason Brickman also masterfully quarterbacked their offense and totaled 15 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, and two steals.

Now, both momentum and homecourt advantage are with Mono as the series swings to Bangkok.

Nonetheless, the Philippines will go all out to overcome the odds.

Freshly-crowned Defensive Player of the Year Balkman showed the way for Alab with 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals while newly-minted Local MVP Parks Jr. contributed 21 markers, eight boards, four dimes, three pilfers, and two rejections.

Brownlee got off to a strong start with 11 points in the first quarter, but only wound up with 14. He also battled an apparent leg injury that forced him to the bench near the end of the third quarter.

He missed majority of the final frame and was clearly not 100 percent when he launched his triple tries in the last 15 seconds that would have forced overtime.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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