Tanduay Alab Pilipinas’ late fightback went down the drain as it lost to a Christian Standhardinger-led Hongkong Eastern Basketball Club, 89-92, in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) on Sunday night at the packed Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Alab Pilipinas erased a 48-63 deficit in the third quarter and a 74-82 disadvantage halfway the payoff period but succumbed to the clutch baskets of naturalized Gilas Pilipinas standout Standhardinger.
“It was so close. They (Alab) really got everything out of us,” said Standhardinger after the hard-earned victory.
“We stick together because it’s hard. You can lose your focus, you can lose your emotions and get frustrated but we kept going. We kept working hard,” he added.
Following Reggie Okosa’s triple that pushed Alab to within two points, 86-88, Standhardinger sank a wide-open jumper to give Hong Kong a 90-86 lead with 18 seconds remaining.
Reigning local Most Valuable Player Ray Parks Jr. did not want to let the home fans down as he completed a three-point play to cut the gap to just a solitary point, 89-90.
But the Fil-German big man once again broke the hearts of his fellow countrymen, draining a layup with five ticks left for the final count.
Josh Urbiztondo could have sent the game to overtime but his triple rimmed out as time expired.
Standhardinger led defending champion Hong Kong Eastern with a huge double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds on top of four assists and two steals in his ABL debut.
The 6-foot-7 center got ample support from defending World Import MVP Marcus Elliott and Tyler Lamb, who fired 26 and 23 points, respectively.
Okosa topscored for Alab with 28 points to go with 12 rebounds while Parks and Ivan Johnson chipped in 17 markers apiece.
Alab will try to bounce back when it takes on Singapore Slingers in another home game on November 29.