FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Just when everyone thought they had found a perfect matchup to stop Xavier Alexander, he once again flirted with a near triple-double performance in the Philippines. Alexander consistently either pushed the tempo and found open shots for his teammates, or he would finish things himself with a strong layups in transition offense. By the time the final buzzer rang, the versatile forward nabbed himself 20 points, nine boards and nine assists, along with an impressive five steals.
Ice cold Mandani.
It seems like the Fil-Canadian AJ Mandani has finally found his rhythm and hot shooting under the Slingers’ system. He wasn’t shy in taking long shots in front of his native fans, where he converted on 6-of-8 perimeter shots and had himself 23 points en-route to being officially deemed Man of the Match by the ABL. For fans who have watched the ABL long enough, you might find a similar play between AJ Mandani and Wong Wei Long, where the coach will setup hard screens for them to shoot the ball whenever possible.
Turnovers to fast breaks.
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas had 12 turnovers as a team, whereby the visiting Slingers had 5 turnovers less overall. As a result, the Slingers scored 26 fast-break points down the stretch. Credit goes to their top class defending in anticipating passing lanes in forcing turnovers from the mighty home team. Both Alab world imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman had three turnovers each.
Low bench production.
Both team’s bench production was rather low, where their starters contributed most of the points during the game. Paul Rico Maierhofer came out strong in the third quarter, bringing extra energy to the team at both ends of the floor, efficiently finishing with six points and two rebounds in just approximately seven minutes of playing time. On the other hand, Singaporean big man Delvin Goh logged in 23 minutes of playing time. He would finish with six points, five boards and three blocked shots against opponents who tried to challenged his paint prowess while Chris Charles was sitting out with foul troubles.
The missing Cebuano hotshot.
As one of the exciting additions to the team during the offseason, veteran Dondon Hontiveros has not shined on the ABL stage thus far. On average, the Filipino local has averaged just three points, 1.5 rebounds and an assist per game in only 12 minutes each contest. Imagine if the well-known Cebuano Hot Shot suddenly was able to find his shooting touch and rhythm during the season. His combination with Josh Urbiztondo would be an elder version of the “Splash Brothers” for Tanduay Alab Pilipinas, and more importantly, a defensive nightmare for the rest of the league.