|Justin Brownlee exploded on Wednesday night that the crowd even chanted "Ginebra" in a Tanduay Alab Pilipinas game. Dennis Acosta (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
PASIG--Alab Pilipinas may have just already found its "perfect" imports.
Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman have been stellar for the Philippine team in the ABL despite being with the club for just less than a week.
They basically went straight to the FilOil Flying V Centre from NAIA on Wednesday night but still put up huge numbers against Malaysia.
Brownlee dropped 29 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, while Balkman tallied 17 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, two blocks, and one assist to lead Alab to the win against the Dragons in San Juan City.
[Related Story: Balkman, Brownlee spark Alab PH assault in ABL debut, flog Dragons]
Four days later in Singapore, both American players sustained their impressive form with Balkman having the better numbers this time with 26 points, eight rebounds, four steals, two blocks, and one assist as Alab rallied in overtime to beat the Slingers.
[Related Story: Alab stifles Singapore in OT for third straight win]
"I couldn’t be happier with what they done in the first few games. It has been a pretty hectic time from when they arrived the a few days ago and have already played two games in their first four or five days and not just two games but one road game and one home game," said Head Coach Jimmy Alapag on Monday night. "Just really happy with what they brought to the team, not just their skill set but they are great people and it really resonated with the whole team."
The impact of the replacements to Reggie Okosa and Ivan Johnson was also felt by the locals.
"Obviously, having Justin and Renaldo has been a shot in the arm to everybody, not just because of their talent but they really mesh well with the guys," Alapag continued. "The guys like to have them as a part of the team."
Alab is now 2-0 with Brownlee and Balkman around--and 3-0 in its last three games--and the club has zoomed to fourth place in the team standings, effectively getting a good shot at landing at least a homecourt advantage in the quarterfinals or even an outright semifinal seat.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno