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Alab takes down Mono for their maiden ABL title

ASEAN Basketball League COO Jericho Ilagan hands the championship trophy to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy after winning Game 5 of the ABL Finals at the Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex, Wednesday night. They defeated Mono Vampire, 102-92 in the best-of-5 series. Kevin Estrada
By Kevin Estrada

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA -- The trophy's back to where it belongs.

San Miguel Alab Pilipinas unleashed their fiery form when it counted the most, shutting down Thailand's Mono Vampire with a wire-to-wire, 102-92 triumph to take their maiden ABL crown in spectacular style Wednesday evening in the city's Multipurpose Complex.

A huge third quarter storm took the fight out of the Vampire's reach as Alab turned a close first half lead into a stunning rout to seal to give Jimmy Alapag his first championship ring on his coaching debut, winning the series in five grueling games to take the country's third triumph in the league after the Mikee Romero-led Patriots in the inaugural season in 2010 and San Miguel three years later.

Co-Defensive Player of the Year Renaldo Balkman showed the way for the home side, firing 32 points and coming just a board shy of a double-double.

Fellow world import Justin Brownlee backstopped Balkman with 24 markers and 12 rebounds.

Although Ray Parks only had 13 before fouling out with 5:45 to go, it was enough for the reigning two-time Local MVP to be adjudged as the Finals MVP as his all-around game went noticed with an average of 22.4 points and 5.6 boards.

But it was his defense on Jason Brickman that did the trick, limiting the point guard to just nine markers and six dimes in the entire game.

The bench mob of Alab also exploded in the winner-take-all tiff, led by the hometown boy Lawrence Domingo who scored nine of their 21 points while going perfect both from the field and the foul line.

Mike Singletary lead Mono with 32 points in a losing effort.

Right from the opening tip, Alab went straight at the shaded lane, putting Sam Deguara into the pressure cooker with two first-quarter fouls as the home side led by as much as a baker's dozen courtesy of Balkman who almost had half of Alab's points.

After Alab extended their edge at 16, Mono made a comeback attempt, whittling the lead down to seven, but Balkman and Brownlee made big buckets to fend off any further challenge to end the half on a fiery note with a nine point lead, punctuated by a vicious throwdown by the Puerto Rican big man.

Mono came even closer to five, 54-49 in the third, but the home side unleashed a crippling 27-2 run, including 15 points without any reply to hike their biggest lead to 25 before settling to a 21-point lead to virtually wrest away the crown from the game visitors from Thailand.


San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 102 – Balkman 32, Brownlee 24, Parks 13, Raymundo 9, Domingo 9, Javelona 7, Urbiztondo 5, Hontiverso 3, Alabanza 0, Celiz 0, Maeirhofer 0, Sumalinog 0

Mono Vampire 92 – Singletary 32, Deguara 24, Zamar 19, Brickman 9, Chanthachon 6, Apiromvilaichai 2, Khukhandhin 0, Boonyai 0, Sunthonsiri 0, Phuangla 0, Ananti 0, Klahan 0

Quarter scores: 27-14, 54-45, 82-61, 102-92

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