It was a physical evening when San Miguel Alab Pilipinas traveled to Vitenam and earned their 8-point victory against Saigon Heat. Both team played extra physical to each other, and the full house CIS Arena as usual, fans were loving it and now it’s finally their last meeting before the playoff begins.
After Alab’s eight games winning streak, they are now having 2-game losing streak after another unsuccessful trip in China during the weekend, although they still remain themselves at the third spot on league standings. Renaldo Balkman was the sole bright spot during the recent two games, where most of his teammates are currently having ineffective shooting rhythm, including the reigning Local Player MVP- Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
Apart from the usual contributors, the mighty Philippines team would need the extra fire power from Josh Urbiztondo too. The veteran guard has been quiet recently on the rainbow territory, although he was doing a fine job in facilitating his team the past few games. Hopefully, the ex-Gilas sharpshooter- Dondon Hontiveros can reestablish himself late at the season and generate confidence as well as momentum for playoff time.
Since the Vietnamese team had just sent Westports Malaysia Dragons home with a tough loss, now they just have to grab another victory to seal themselves the remaining playoff seat. During their game with Alab, Moses Morgan was showcasing his all-around playing style that almost led his team to the last smile, but the hand injury towards the end of third quarter proved to be bothering on the decisive quarter. The Thai-American had 67 percent shooting from the field, and five steals that proved himself as an underrated defender in the league.
Besides the contribution of Maxie Esho, Akeem Scott and Moses Morgan, coach Kyle Julius would need Michael Williams to continue his recent shooting form too. This would be the first time where Williams go back and play against a Philippines team in a professional setting, so one could expect the desire from him to deliver a great game to his heritage family.
Key Individual Match-Up(s)
Justin Brownlee VS Akeem Scott
The Jamaican Flash was all around the floor and feeding his home crowd with his passionate celebration after every acrobatic layup. On top of that, he was trash talking with almost every visiting player on the floor, even a usual calm and reliable veteran such as Justin Brownlee was losing his chill at one point. Although the soft spoken American will probably not be bother by the previous incident, but he will definitely want to grab this victory when Heat visit them this Wednesday.
Therefore, fans have every reason to believe this match-up would be as intense as last time, since both team is looking for a victory to get themselves mentally and physically ready for playoff.
Lawrence Domingo delivered arguably his best game of the season last time when they traveled to Saigon. His energy on the offensive glass and reverse layups were the main factors of that hard fought game. Coach Jimmy Alapag would surely insert him around Balkman to clash the glass again, hoping to gain rebounding advantage against Heat’s much smaller line-up.
On the other hand, Julius would surely want David Arnold to bring in his shooting ability as a spot-up shooter in his system. In fact, Arnold did not shoot particularly well thus far of the season, but his willingness to fight for rebounds is being valued at this point, so he has to quickly get his shooting touch back in order to help his team to become more threatening on an open floor.