VAL Acuna provided the much-needed local support to lift Alab Pilipinas to a 74-70 win over Saigon Heat on Friday night, snapping a two-game losing skid in the Asean Basketball League at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
Acuna scored 23 points in the victory, knocking in seven triples in the contest to help Alab Pilipinas improve their record to 9-6.
Acuna’s contribution was a big boost for Alab Pilipinas as their resident star Bobby Ray Parks Jr. is still nursing injuries in their bounce-back victory over the Heat.
Alab, which atoned for its two-point defeat to the Heat last Sunday, will immediately fly back to Manila for its game against the Westports Malaysia Dragons on Sunday night in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Parks finished with four points, seven rebounds, and five assists but Alab’s top local got ample support from his teammates with Sampson Carter finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Lawrence Domingo adding 11 points and nine rebounds.
Acuna already had 11 markers in the first half including two triples as Alab took an early 11-2 lead in the game. Carter hit back-to-back shots to put the Philippine-based squad ahead by 12, 38-26.
Saigon was able to cut Alab’s lead to two points following an 11-0 run, 50-48, in the third quarter, and only trailed by one, 66-65.
But Acuna came up big in the crucial stage of the game, hitting a triple with 2:53 left in the fourth to start off a 7-0 run for Alab.
Saigon fell to 5-9, half-game ahead of Kaohsiung (5-10) for fourth place in the team standings.
Alab Pilipinas (74)—Acuna 23, Carter 19, Domingo 11, Celiz 7, Parks 4, Hughes 4, Cawaling 4, Fortuna 2, Hubalde 0.
Saigon Heat (70)—Daniel 22, Morgan 14, Arnold 12, T. Nguyen 10, Henriquez 9, H. Nguyen 3, V. Nguyen 0.
Quarters: 19-12, 38-31, 59-52, 74-70.