FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Christmas makeover for both teams.
Both teams would feature reshuffled line ups with Tanduay Alab Pilipinas releasing world imports, Reggie Okosa and Ivan Johnson while replacing them with 2 time PBA Champion, Justin Brownlee and former NBA Player, Renaldo Balkman. Balkman and Brownlee would only arrive in the Philippines earlier in the morning on game day. The Westports Malaysia Dragons would bring in American center, AJ West to replace Curtis Washington and Fil-Am Joshua Munzon, returning to the Dragons for his second season to replace Reil Cervantes.
Dragons late game collapse continues.
For the third straight game, the Dragons would keep the game close in the fourth quarter but collapse late to a double digit lost. The Dragons downfall would begin the moment their tallest local, 6 ft 7 Kuek Tian Yuan fouled out of the game early in the fourth after he drew two quick fouls, the fifth being a technical foul leading to his ejection. With a lack of size late in the game, Alab would punish the Dragons with numerous simple baskets in the paint to close the game out
Justin Brownlee puts on a beastlike performance.
Brownlee would be one of the most talked about world import signings during the ABL Christmas break coming off an excellent 2017 PBA Season with Ginebra. Brownlee stamped his class with a do it all performance of 29 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks on 11/19 shooting. He would often take advantage of the size mismatch against Munzon to make several easy buckets. Brownlee’s outstanding performance would even lead to the crowd starting a ‘Ginebra’ chant midway in the game
Shooting makes all the difference.
In a game where both teams looked out of sync in terms of chemistry both on offense and defense with the roster changes, it would boil down to a shoot out of who made more shots. Alab shot an impressive 47% from the field while the Dragons shot a dismal 35% (11/33 from 3). Josh Urbiztondo with 13 points was key in making the clutch field goals during key moments of the game to quench the Dragon’s attempts at a comeback. The Dragons would fail to take advantage of their massive rebounding advantage of 54-37 including 22 for the debuting AJ West
Too many Mambas for the Dragons?
While Joshua Munzon had a stellar first outing of the season with 21 points and 9 rebounds, the shoot first mentality of both him and fellow guard, Marcus Marshall did not pay dividends today with both of them taking 50% of the Dragons shots tonight, combining for 13/39 from the field. Marshall struggled to find his record breaking opening game form as he only made 5/23 from the field today facing the stifling defense of Bobby Ray Parks Jr. The Dragons will need to find a way to build the chemistry between Marshall and Munzon who will likely be the Dragons pillars on offense for the rest of the season.