By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—Alab Pilipinas dodged a huge second half collapse and escaped with a 77-76 win over Eastern in the lone ABL match on Thursday at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.
Jeremiah Gray saved the day for Alab as he blocked Jon Siu's potential game winner as the Philippine side bounced back from a devastating defeat to the Singapore Slingers on Jan. 12.
[Related Story: Singapore pummels cold-shooting Alab at home]
Alab were in control for most of the first half, taking a 45-30 halftime lead that silenced the Long Lions' fans at home.
But Eastern sizzled in the third quarter, dropping 30 points to cut the lead down to three, 63-60, entering the fourth.
The team eventually took the lead in the fourth quarter and was holding to a three-point cushion, 76-73, with 1:57 to play.
But a quick layup from Sam Deguara in the next play sparked Alab's last push, which was completed with Nick King's go-ahead basket with 1:05 left.
Alab could not put the game away, especially when new world import Prince Williams turned the ball over off a bad pass, giving the Long Lions 7.1 seconds to map out the game winning play.
Just as Siu lined up for the corner three, however, Gray reached in to block the attempt, and Deguara secured the rebound to seal the win.
King finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block for Alab, who moved up to 6-3.
In his debut, Williams added 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one block.
Brandis Baley-Ross played the full game and came close to a triple-double with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.
Michael Holyfield added 13 points, 19 rebounds, one assist, three blocks, and one steal.