By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—A new ASEAN Basketball League champion will be crowned this year.
Alab Pilipinas was stripped of its crown on Wednesday night after Eastern knocked the team out with a 102-84 Quarterfinals Game 2 win at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.
It was Alab who had a hot start, but the Long Lions took over later in the first quarter all the way to the blowout.
Looking to bounce back from a stinging Game 1 defeat in Lapu-Lapu, Alab raced to an 18-6 lead in the first six minutes of the game.
But Eastern responded with a 16-1 run to take the lead before unleashing a 31-14 second quarter blast to pull away.
Marcus Elliott fired 29 points with eight rebounds and four assists for the seventh-seeded Long Lions, who will face the winner of the Singapore Slingers-Macau Black Bears series in the next round.
Singapore holds a 1-0 lead in its own best-of-three series against Macau ahead of Game 2 on Thursday night at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center.
O'Darien Bassett added 28 points, 15 assists, five rebounds, three steals, and one block, while Mike Holyfield had his own double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds alongside three blocks.
PJ Ramos made 21 markers, 13 boards, and five dimes for second-seeded Alab, who bowed out after losing for the sixth straight time dating back to the regular season.
Alab was not the only higher-seeded team eliminated on Wednesday night as no less than top-seeded Formosa also found itself going home after a 70-68 Game 2 win by eighth-seeded Mono Vampire at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi that completed the latter's 2-0 sweep of its own.
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