IT was another close game for Alab Pilipinas against the Singapore Slingers, but coach Mac Cuan was very pleased to see the squad show grit in tough situations.
Alab tightened its grip on third spot, but more than that, Cuan believes it is a very important win against a team that is very likely to join them in the ABL playoffs.
“Another character win for us,” Cuan said. “They just didn’t want to lose in this game and we kept grinding out.”
The win evened the elimination-round matchup at 2-2 for the Slingers and Alab, although the Singapore club is in second with a 10-4 record and the Philippine-based team in third at 7-4.
The Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions are on top at 8-2 but has 10 games left in their schedule, and the race for the top spot is still wide open.
Nine games remain on Alab’s elimination-round schedule, and Cuan is looking to work harder to improve their title chances.
“We need that win because it’s also about placing already. We are bound to meet them down the line and if we want homecourt advantage against them, we need to even things,” Cuan said.
Alab lost a seven-point lead in regulation but recovered to clinch the win in overtime.
The win somehow made up for the disappointment Alab Pilipinas players felt when they when they wasted a 15-point lead and bowed to the Saigon Heat, 72-65, last week in front of home fans in Davao City.
“I was happy we were able to execute the game plan in the second half and overtime both on offense and defense,” said Cuan.
Cuan again called on the Alab players to be more consistent as they approach the semifinals.
“We need games like this so that we will know how to win when the games really start to matter where each possession is very important and every stop is crucial.
“I’m proud of the effort the guys put in and I’m hoping from here on out, we give the same consistent effort every time we step on the floor wearing that Alab Pilipinas uniform,” said Cuan.