SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas suffered its first loss of the season in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) on Wednesday, losing to home side Westports Malaysia Dragons, 72-71, on Wednesday at the Maba Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Jonathan Wong scored 21 points including a lay-up with 18 seconds left to give the Dragons the lead which stood until the end as Ethan Alvano issued an errant pass for a turnover in the Filipinos' final possession.
The loss was the defending champion’s first defeat after winning their first five games of the season. Alab, though, still stayed in first place in the team standings.
The Dragons, who picked up their third win in six outings, kept Alab close the whole game before finally wresting the lead on a three-pointer by Wong and a Loh Shee Fai lay-up, 70-67.
Renaldo Balkman scored then issued an assist to PJ Ramos for a four-point Alab swing to put the visitors back on top, 71-70, but Wong answered with a crucial lay-up over Caelan Tiongson.
Balkman scored a game-high 31 points to go with 14 rebounds while Ramos had 16 points and 11 rebounds. But the two found little support from their local teammates.
Alab was coming off a short turnaround after picking up a home win over the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors in a Lapu Lapu City where it made 16 three-pointers.
But Alab struggled from the field this time, hitting only six of their 21 shots from three-point land compared to the Malaysia Dragons' 14.
Alab returns home to host Hong Kong Eastern on Friday in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Malaysia Dragons 72 – Wong 21, Egwu 15, Loh 12, Eversley 12, Tan 6, Chan 3, C. Chin 3, Z. Chin 0, Chiang 0, Yek 0.
Alab Pilipinas 71 – Balkman 31, Ramos 16, Tiongson 6, Parks 5, Domingo 5, Javelona 3, Rosser 3, Alvano 2, Urbiztondo 2.
Quarters: 17-18; 35-37; 51-56; 72-71.