Singapore Slingers oust Alab Pilipinas from ABL semis

Alab Pilipinas will have to settle for a semifinals appearance in their maiden Asean Basketball League stint.

The local team was swept by the Singapore Slingers in their best-of-three series, losing 82-64 in game two, Friday at the Baliwag Star Arena.

Forced to play without the injured Bobby Ray Parks, the Filipinos lacked the firepower to keep up with the veteran Singapore side, as the latter booked their return ticket to the Finals, after making it that far last season.

Sloppy defense and careless passes by Alab led to Singapore taking a 24-14 lead at the end of the first. Then in the second, baskets by Desmond Oh and Wei Meng Kwek got their lead to as high as 20, before settling for an 18-point cushion, 47-29, at the break.

Alab finally snapped to life in the third quarter, unleashing an offensive burst that got the locals within six, 57-51, courtesy of a Kiefer Ravena triple. Unfortunately for them, Singapore punched right back with a 12-2 run bridging the last two quarters, rebuilding their advantage to 69-53, 7:53 left in the game.

Doing their best to make things interesting, Alab pulled themselves within 13, 75-62, with 2:54 to go on the clock. But Josh Urbiztondo canned a triple, then Xavier Alexander scored via a layup, ending any thoughts of a late comeback.

Alexander top-scored with 21 points on a 9-of-12 shooting clip. He added 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block, in an all-around outing. Former PBA pro Josh Urbiztondo chimed in with 20 points, including a 4-of-8 night on three’s, plus five boards and six dimes, versus one turnover.

Lawrence Domingo led Alab with 18 points on as many attempts, plus 13 caroms. Kiefer Ravena was 6-of-19 from the field for 16 points, with four rebounds and four assists. Imports Sampson Carter and James Hughes combined for 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Singapore waxed hot, shooting 52 percent from the field, while holding their opponents to a mere 34 percent. The Slingers also had more rebounds and more assists, though Alab got the majority of their points off second-chance opportunities, 20-7.

In the ABL Finals, Singapore will face the winner of the Hong Kong versus Saigon series.

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