By Kevin Estrada
MANILA--Second-seeded Singapore Slingers opened the 2017 ABL Playoffs with a convincing 77-67 win over Alab Pilipinas in their first game of the semifinal series earlier this evening at the OCBC Arena in the Lion City.
The one-two American punch of Xavier Alexander and Justin Howard were too much for the visitors, taking advantage on the thin Alab line-up from inside and out and pulled away in the second quarter to go 1-0 up in the best of three series.
Alexander poured in a game high 26 points on a 62.5% clip from the field to lead the Slingers of Neo Beng Siang as they put one foot forward in returning to the ABL Finas, as the veteran center Howard pitched in a double-double of 15 markers and 10 boards for their cause.
Singapore's pesky defense virtually shut down Alab for the entirety of the game, as the offense of Mac Cuan's men were limited to just 35% shooting clip with the Slingers lead by as much as 15 in the game
Kiefer Ravena had a pretty decent debut tonight and got the better of the fellow March signing Josh Urbiztondo, stepping up in lieu of Bobby Ray Parks who did not finished the game after spraining his right ankle early in the game, with the Phenom registered 16 points but got little help as James Hughes only netting 13 markers.
Alab needed to regroup quick as the series shifts to Baliuag, Bulacan for a must-win game 2 on Friday.
SLINGERS 77 - Alexander 26, Howard 15, Goh 12, Wong 11, Urbiztondo 8, Oh 3, Kwek 2
ALAB 67 - Ravena 16, Hughes 13, Acuna 9, Carter 9, Cawaling 4, Domingo 4, Hubalde 4, Parks 4, Celiz 2, Knuttel 2
Quarter scores: 19-16, 42-31, 61-49, 77-67