ALAB Pilipinas is backed against the wall but determined to fight. So says coach Jimmy Alapag.
"We understand the situation we're in. It's win-or-go home," said Alapag on the eve of Game Two of their best-of-three Asean Basketball League (ABL) quarterfinal playoff against Hong Kong Eastern at the Southern Stadium in Wan Chai.
Alab dropped a close 90-88 defeat to Hong Kong last Saturday in the series opener in Cebu, putting it in an unenviable position of having to sweep the final two games to keep alive its bid for a repeat championship.
Renaldo Balkman finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in his first game back from a long injury layoff while fellow world import PJ Ramos added 17 points, seven boards, and four dimes for Alab,
But the Philippine side blew a 15-point, third-quarter lead and were left searching for answers after Bobby Ray Parks missed a jumper in the final seconds that could've forced an overtime period.
Alab's struggles actually started long before Game One. The team has now lost five games in a row in a slump that cost them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs - and now left them in a must-win situation in Game Two.
Alapag, however, is keeping the faith, saying he expects his side to come out swinging in Game Two against an HK side led by the trio of Marcus Elliott, O'Darrien Bassett, and Michael Holyfield.
"We had a productive two days of video and practice this week to see how we can be better in Game Two. Our guys will be ready come Wednesday night," he said.