Alab Pilipinas bursts Hong Kong’s invincibility

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Alab Pilipinas ended its losing streak to Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions with an 82-75 victory in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) at the USEP Arena in Davao City on Sunday.

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It was the Philippine squad’s first win over the leading squad after four meetings to secure the No. 3 seed in the playoff round with a 10-9 win-loss card.

Alab relied on its inside game led by American imports James Hughes and Sampson Carter to hand the Lions their second straight loss.

Hughes provided the much-needed strength for Alab in the shaded area with a double-double performance of 17 points and 14 rebounds together with three blocks.

Carter came off the bench and tallied 20 points and seven rebounds.

Former pro Robby Celiz also had a remarkable performance with 17 markers, six boards and two assists for Alab.

“When everybody contributes, it makes our jobs easier,” Hughes said after the match. “Just as long as everybody is bringing the energy, bringing the fight, it helps everybody across the board.”

Hong Kong was in control of the game after taking a 43-38 halftime lead.

But Alab’s defense went to full throttle and held down the visiting team to just 11 points to grab the lead at 55-54 entering the payoff period.

The quintet of PH imports joined forces in the final quarter en route to veteran guard Paolo Hubalde securing the win for Alab with a crucial lay-up, 80-75, 38 ticks left.

Marcus Elliot had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Long Lions, who stayed at No. 1 with 15-4 slate.

Alab’s final elimination game is against the eliminated Kaohsiung Truth at the latter’s home stadium on March 26.

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