San Miguel Alab Pilipinas survived a short-handed Macau Black Bears squad at home, 101-96.
Black Bears’ guard Mike McKinney almost single-handedly pulled one over the defending champions after finishing with a career-high 50 points to go with nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
Just a little over a week ago after dealing the defending champions their biggest defeat of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season, the Black Bears came out firing on all cylinders, taking a 57-46 lead after two quarters.
Never mind that this is a relatively different team after team captain and reigning World Import MVP Anthony Tucker went down with a left foot injury during their match against the Formosa Dreamers.
Macau outscored the home team in both quarters behind the heroics of the import duo of Mike McKinney and Ryan Watkins, who combined for 50 first-half points after hitting 11 out of 16 shots from deep.
After trailing for the entire game, Alab Pilipinas completed a furious 16-6 run in the last four minutes of the third quarter to enter the final period with a 78-76 lead, capped by Renaldo Balkman’s layup just before the buzzer.
The Philippine squad went on to protect the lead in the final quarter to successfully close out Macau. They also played shorthanded without forwards Caelan Tiongson (foot) and Brandon Rosser (knee).
PJ Ramos led Alab Pilipinas with 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Balkman finished with 26 points, 11 boards, and eight assists in the win. Reigning local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. added 22 points, five rebounds and five dimes.
Black Bears’ big Ryan Watkins had 20 points by halftime, but was limited in the final two quarters to finish with 25 markers and 14 rebounds, while recent addition Jenning Leung added 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for Macau.
The league-leading Alab Pilipinas squad visits the second-placed Formosa Dreamers on March 10, while the Macau Black Bears host Mono Vampire on the 13th.
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