Lawrence Domingo was out of words with gladness after San Miguel Alab Pilipinas won a grueling five-game series over Mono Vampire Basketball Club in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals, making him a champion for the first time ever.
“Honestly, I’m a little speechless right now,” shared Domingo. “It’s my first, like, championship that I’ve been a part of. I’m just thankful, you know. Having been with a great group of guys, a great coach like Jimmy.”
After starting off the year 1-4, a lot of people started to write them off, until they swapped world imports Ivan Johnson and Reggie Okosa for the mercurial former NBA forward Renaldo Balkman and Philippine fan-favorite Justin Brownlee and turned their season around. They went on to win 13 of their following 15 regular season games.
“Early on in the year, you know, like what you said, we struggled a little bit, but we all stayed together as a family. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of right now: we stayed together, we kept that common goal and we played through a whole bunch of adversity, a whole bunch of adversity,” shared Domingo.
“I do want to thank Balkman and Justin. They came in and they showed real character and leadership to help a lot of us along the way. To teach us as long as we listened. They helped a lot. Personally, and with the whole team. So I wanna thank them for coming along.”
Despite only playing 15 minutes and grabbing a single rebound in the deciding Game Five, Domingo still finished with nine points after shooting a perfect 3-3 from both the field and the charity stripe, one of the few kinks in his game.
“Coach had me making a hundred free throws before I left the gym early on into the year. I had all my teammates all know that I struggle with free throws and I kept on working on it, kept my cool. Tonight it helped. So I wanna thank my team. My team had confidence in me.”
Domingo doesn’t mind not being in the spotlight as much as his more popular teammates like Brownlee, Balkman, or reigning two-time ABL Local MVP and newly minted Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. He just wants to help the team the best way he knows how and be part of the amazing ride with his new band of brothers.
“I wouldn’t pick any other team. This is special, we all trusted each other.”