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Dragons snap Alab PH domination, keep ABL playoff hopes flickering

By M.A. Manez

MANILA – Filipino-American Joshua Munzon saved Westports Malaysia Dragons from disaster as he sunk the marginal charity shot and snapped San Miguel Alab Pilipinas’ eight-game victory ride with a pulsating 90-89 squeaker at the ASEAN Basketball League, Sunday afternoon, at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

The win hiked their record to 5-10 and added flicker to their seemingly dying hopes of advancing to the playoffs.

Munzon plowed in 19 markers despite shooting 5-for-17 in the field all game long. He also chalked up six boards, an assist, three steals and two blocks for the effort.

World import Chris Eversley paced all scorers with 36 markers, a big follow up of his 38 point performance in their win over the Formosa Dreamers last week.

The Dragons were on the receiving end of getting swept by their newest victims as they clawed back from eight points down and clamped down Alab’s offense in the dying moments.

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas tried to save their streak with eight seconds left but Dondon Hontiveros’ desperation three from right failed to swish in.

Alab’s dynamic import duo of Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee saw their combined 58-point spread went down the drain as they suffered their fifth setback against 11 wins, sliding them back to third. Balkman also had 19 rebounds (11 offensive), two assists, one steal and one block. Just like Munzon, Balkman played all 40 minutes in Sunday’s face off.

Both teams went toe-to-toe in the first 20 minutes with Alab holding a slight advantage after 20 minutes, 47-44.

Despite shooting less than their victims, the Dragons found their range, hitting 10 of their 27 attempts (37 percent) from rainbow distance as against Alab’s 5-for-18 (27 percent). They also more free throws (34 as against the 20 of Alab), sinking 26, including the winning charity. They also  hold a 10-4 advantage in steals.

Action resumes with Alab travelling north to Nanhai Gymnasium on Wednesday with Chong Son Kung Fu seeking revenge from their 91-94 slip in Santa Rosa.

The Dragons, meanwhile, also head north to face the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena on Saturday, March 10.

Box Scores:

Westports Malaysia Dragons (90) – Eversley 36, Munzon 19, Kuek 14, Purdy 11, Davis 9, Wong 1, Ng 0, Ting 0, Heng 0, Chin 0

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (89) – Balkman 33, Brownlee 25, Parks 10, Domingo 7, urboztondo 6, Raymundo 6, Maierhofer 2, Sumalinog 0, Celiz 0,  Javelona 0, Hontiveros 0, Alabanza 0.

Quarter Scores: 24-26, 44-47, 65-69, 90-89.

Follow him on Twitter: @MAManez_DPH16