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    Alapag relieved to see Alab keep finding ways to win in an up-and-down season

    Feb 2, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    COACH Jimmy Alapag is relieved to see San Miguel Alab Pilipinas keep finding ways to pull off tight victories midway through what has so far been an up-and-down campaign in the 2020 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season.

    "We don't make it easy on ourselves," Alapag said after another tight escape, this time an 86-77 overtime victory over the Singapore Slingers at home on Sunday. "That's really our challenge at this point of the season, finding that consistency on how we play.

    "We've been really up and down the last few weeks," he added.

    That was the case again on Sunday night for Alab, which took a 16-point lead, 49-33, early in the third quarter, only to turn the ball over time and time again to help the Slingers crawl their way back and even take the game to an extra period.

    "We've been having issues when it comes to turning the ball over. Tonight it was 14, but at the half, it was five. I think that third quarter, we had five or six and again, that's what you can't do against Singapore because you allow (Xavier) Alexander, who is one of the best in the league, same with (Marcus) Elliott, to get downhill in transition," he rued.

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    Lucky for the Philippine side, Jason Brickman made big plays down the stretch, scoring five of his 16 points in the extension period to bail the Philippine side out.

    Also helping out was Jeremiah Gray, who is turning out to be a defensive lynchpin with his three rebounds, three steals, and two blocks to go with his 10 points and four assists.

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    "Credit to our guys. We did a better job taking care of the ball in the fourth quarter and we made enough plays down the stretch," said Alapag.

    Despite the inconsistencies, the PBA legend couldn't help but laud his wards grit, especially after coming off another tough 100-92 overtime win against Mono Vampire just last Thursday.

    "Coming off the game in Thailand just the other night and not really having much preparation for this Singapore game, I thought the guys' energy and focus for the most part was really, really good. And again, it's just something that we have to sustain going forward," he said.

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    The killer schedule, however, doesn't stop for Alab as Alapag and Co. turn their attention to the Malaysia Dragons, who they play on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur.

    "This is great preparation for our guys going forward. In the playoffs come April, these guys literally will just have to go home, grab a meal, and then we'll run off to the airport for our flight to KL," he said.

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    "So we're gonna have to try to find a way to muster enough energy. But again, with our depth, we have guys who are ready to go. So we'll need everybody on Tuesday night."

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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