Josh Munzon finally got a win in Philippine soil after the third time of asking. (file)
By Kevin Estrada
MANILA--If 40 minutes were not enough, it took five more for the Westports Malaysia Dragons to end their season series with Alab Pilipinas on even footing, after spoiling the christening of the newly built multipurpose centre to keep their flickering title defense alive in the ABL on Sunday night.
The reigning champions showed the composure to pull away late in overtime for a 101-91 win improved their record to 4-13, while Alab did not capitalize on closing in on the Singapore Slingers who also lost earlier Sunday, slumping to 9-7 while splitting their season series with the Dragons, winning both at home and away.
Six Dragons scored in double figures, with Joshua Munzon finally getting his first win in a Pinoy floor with a 25-point, seven-steal performance, as he and Kiwi Gardner wreaked havoc on the Alab defense with their quickness, forcing two late turnovers to pull away from a close 90-89 contest on a 11-2 finish despite losing Skylar Spencer on fouls early in OT.
The Malaysian side were also backed up by national team mainstays Tian Yan Kuek and Wei Hong Choo who scored 13 points each, the latter coming off the bench.
Ray Parks' 27 goes down the drain for Alab, but not with better back up from the reserves, as JR Cawaling poured in 11 and Robbie Celiz nabbed 13 in a losing effort, but not without a late-game fightback which saw them come back from 11 with 2:06 to go to force the extra minutes at 84-all care of Parks' two late freebies.
ALAB PILIPINAS 91 -- Parks 27, Celiz 13, Carter 12, Cawaling 11, Acuña 9, Fortuna 8, Hubalde 5, Hughes 3, Domingo 3
WESTPORTS MALAYSIA 101 -- Munzon 25, Gardner 18, Spencer 17, Choo 13, Kuek 13, Wong 12, Ting 3
Quarter Scores: 23-16, 38-38, 60-60, 84-84, 91-101 (OT)