by Jonas Terrado
Game Friday (The Arena, San Juan)
6 p.m. — Alab Pilipinas vs Macau
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas needed almost three quarters before finally shaking off the pesky host Singapore Slingers, 80-70, to regain its winning form in the ASEAN Basketball League at the OCBC Arena.
Alab leaned on a 9-0 run after holding a 54-52 lead with less than four minutes left in the third to create a big separation from the Slingers before posting its 17th victory in 21 games this season.
Renaldo Balkman had 28 points while PJ Ramos had 22 points and 17 rebounds as Alab stayed two games ahead of the Formosa Dreamers for the lead in the 10-team regional league.
Formosa is running in second at 15-6 after winning its last five matches.
Coach Jimmy Alapag’s wards also bounced back from a frustrating 116-103 road loss to the Macau Black Bears at midweek.
His team spent the first half engaging in a tight encounter with Singapore, which is hoping to score an upset win that would enhance its hold on third place.
Former PBA import John Fields split his free throws to put Singapore behind 54-52 before Ramos scored five straight to spark the said 9-0 binge to make it 63-52 for Alab.
Balkman’s layup before the quarter ended gave Alab a 69-58 lead.
Fields, who played for the Columbian Dyip in last season’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup, finished with 21 points but the Slingers fell to 13-8.