FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Though he struggled against the bigger Samuel Deguara in the first half, allowing the Mono Vampire big man to drop 15 points and eight rebounds, things went differently in the second half. Renaldo Balkman attacked the basket fearlessly, making tough shots and contested rebounds on every possession. He simply outplayed Deguara, using his speed, experience and more importantly, unrelenting energy throughout the entire game. The American world import would finish the game with 31 points, 13 rebounds and five steals, whereby Deguara was only able to record 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Energy and hustle.
When your team plays against another that has a 7-foot giant slotted in at center, you’ve got to compete even harder every possession to ensure a win, and the home team proved that they could do that in front of a jam-packed crowd. San Miguel Alab Pilipinas grabbed a total of 50 rebounds, nabbed 13 steals, and batted eight blocks to outfight the visiting Vampire in the aforementioned categories (41 rebounds, six steals, eight blocks). To put things into simpler terms, their energy in fighting for rebounds and playing top-notch defense allowed Alab to continue their winning streak.
Passing wizard on duty.
Fil-Am Jason Brickman once again stepped foot in the Philippines after about a year or so, showing just how valuable he is for his current team. He was his usual self in finding the open man for easy baskets, creating plenty of trouble for Alab Pilipinas down stretches where he was able to pass the ball to the right man at the right time with precision. His output on Wednesday night was more of a low profile double-double performance, finishing with 11 points and 11 dimes while also managing to haul in two boards.
Zamar facing added pressure.
In one of the few times that Paul Zamar has an opportunity to play in front of his countrymen as a visitor, there seemed to be additional pressure on his shoulders against Alab Pilipinas. Normally, the Filipino guard is able score at will, but he looked rather uncomfortable during the game. Zamar finished up the game with just 12 points (4-of-11, 36%) and six rebounds, committing three turnovers. The Vampire certainly need him to find his killer instinct again before facing off against the Saigon Heat on their home floor on Valentine’s Day.
The quiet leader.
Justin Brownlee had an usually bad shooting performance (27 percent from the field), as he was only able to record 16 points the entire game, however, he made up for it in other facets. Brownlee was assigned as point-forward for most of the game, responsible for his team’s smooth transition in the second half. The import made a few good outlet passes to Balkman for easy buckets (12 rebounds and eight assists), setting the tone for the game and helping keep the team in its leading position. Aside from that, his defensive rotations were spectacular, recording four steals and five blocks which allowed his home squad to run their fast-paced transition game. His signing midway through this season has officially transformed the entire Alab Pilipinas team into a much better, and scarier team for the rest of the league. Knights beware. They’re coming your way.