Alab Pilipinas’ attempt for a comeback win fell short anew after losing 83-97 to the Singapore Slingers in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Season 8 on Wednesday night at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
The Tanduay-backed Filipino team fought its way back from 15 points down with a furious run in the third quarter but the Singaporean squad retaliated with its own rally in the fourth period to snatch the win.
It was Alab’s second straight home loss to start the season following an 89-92 defeat to Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club. It was a close fight wherein the Filipinos also erased a 15-point deficit only to see their effort go down the drain in the endgame.
World Import Reggie Okosa led Alab anew with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds while fellow reinforcement Ivan Johnson, who sparked the fightback in the third period, chipped in 19 markers, eight boards, four assists and three blocks.
The Slingers banked on their imports Xavier Alexander and Ryan Wright to post their second straight win after an opening game loss.
Alexander came through with a triple-double of 27 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists while Wright tallied a double-double of 24 points and 18 rebounds in full 40 minutes of action.
Filipino-Canadian wingman AJ Mandani also contributed huge to Singapore’s win finishing with 17 points highlighted by three triples.
Mandani’s first three-pointer from the left corner gave the Slingers a 34-19 lead midway the second frame.
Alab staged a 20-7 uprising that saw Johnson drop 10 points to close the gap, 71-72, late in the third quarter.
But the visitors notched 12 unanswered points to start the payoff period. Mandani capped their decisive 21-4 run with a jumper as Singapore notched its largest lead at 95-75 with only 4:05 left in the game.
The Singaporean beat the Filipinos in rebounds (47-37) and assists (25-16) to buck the zero scoring from its bench.
Alab has two weeks to prepare for its first road game and second encounter against defending champion Hong Kong on December 13 at the Southorn Stadium.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA