Third time's the charm for Alab, survives late Slinger scare

FINALLY. After three tries, Ray Parks and Alab Pilipinas gets the W over the Singapore Slingers. Photo from the ABL website
By Kevin Estrada

BIÑAN--Alab Pilipinas avoided a last ditch meltdown after nearly blowing an 11-point lead to hold off the erstwhile league leading Singapore Slingers, 74-72 in a pulsating ABL action Friday evening at the Alonte Arena.

Coach Mac Cuan's side almost let the win slip out of their grasp as their defense recovered just in time to foil the Slingers in the very final play of the game to register their fourth win of the season and atone for dropping their first two games with the last season's finalists, including their season opener to the same side at the same arena last Nov. 27.

Bobby Ray Parks led the home side with 17 points and 9 boards, who moved up to 4-2 and maintain their hold at third in the team standings. The two-time UAAP MVP was backstopped by Lawrence Domingo's double double of 14 markers and 11 boards, and Jeric Fortuna's 12 that included two timely three point bombs off Parks' passes in the final canto.

Xavier Alexander's 24 markers and Wong Wei Long's 14 (all in the fourth) went down the drain for the visiting Slingers (7-2), as they surrender their lead on winning percentage after Hong Kong Eastern (5-1) slashed the Malaysia Dragons earlier in the night.

Alab came with guns blazing at tip-off, firing in a 13-0 run from an early deficit en route to a 17-10 cushion at the end of the opening frame with six players enter the scoresheet led by Parks and Sampson Carter who had four each. Then Domingo took over the second quarter, firing in eight points to extend Alab's dominance at the half by 10, 37-27.

However, their nine-point cushion at the end of the third almost quickly evaporated in the fourth but Alab replied with a crippling 15-3 run thanks to Fortuna and Parks with less than four minutes left that overturned a 59-60 deficit into a 74-63 edge with 3:36 left.

But Singapore tried a last ditch attempt to extinguish the home side by fired three triples in succession by Wei Long, Mitchell Folkoff and Alexander to bring themselves to within a basket, and forced an inbound infraction on Parks on the other end to set up a thrilling finish with 17.4 ticks left.

However, Alab will not let the Biñan crowd down this time with the defense forcing Alexander to miss his shot to send them home jubilant.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada