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Alab holds off late Dragons charge for back-to-back triumphs

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James Hughes had a monster rebounding performance for Alab, who won their second match-up with the Malaysia Dragons. (file photo)
By Kevin Estrada

BALIUAG, BULACAN -- Alab Pilipinas have to withstand a late charge by the Westports Malaysia Dragons before holding on for an 87-79 win to continue their hold of third place in the ABL earlier tonight at the Star Arena.


After virtually leading for almost the entirety of the game, Alab nearly blew a 14-point lead in the final frame, as the Dragons slowly crawled back into their game, reducing it to 3, 80-77 with 58 ticks left on a Joshua Munzon triple.

But that was the end of the Malaysian resistance as Bobby Ray Parks fired the dagger trey of his own with 34 ticks left to settle their second encounter against the two sides for their second consecutive win after losing to the Saigon Heat in Davao last February 5.

The home side's teamwork was on display as five Alab cagers recorded double-figure scoring with Sampson Carter and Parks had 15 points each, with James Hughes, JR Cawaling and Robby Celiz notched in 14 each, the latter two was part of the 38 bench points scored by coach Mac Cuan's side who continued to solidify their third spot in the standings at 3.

Alab's two World Imports also notched their double-doubles thru their rebounding, with the former Northern Illinois center grabbing game-high 18 of them, 7 from the offensive end, while Carter notched 11 rebounds as they dominated the battle of the boards, 55-42.

Debuting pointguard Kiwi Gardner came hot off the bench for defending champs, scoring 30 out of the Dragons' 38, but only have little relief from the rest of Chris Thomas' wards who only have Skylar Spencer and Munzon in double figures with 17 and 20, respectively, as they further sink to the bottom of the standings at 2-10.

Both teams will play for the third time on Sunday, this time in Kuala Lumpur, where the Dragons were in a must win situation in which a loss will reduce all of the work made by their championship season last year into mere memory.

THE SCORES:

ALAB 87 -- Carter 15, Parks Jr. 15, Hughes 14, Celiz 14, Cawaling 14, Domingo 8, Fortuna 3, Gavieres 2, Hubalde 2

DRAGONS 79 -- Gardner 30, Munzon 20, Spencer 17, Wong 4, Teo 4, Kuek 2, Ma 2

Quarter Scores: 20-15, 40-34, 67-57, 87-79

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada
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