NONTHABURI, Thailand — San Miguel Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag rued the officiating of the game that limited Renaldo Balkman due to foul trouble, but made it clear his team also had its own faults in Game Four of the Asean Basketball League finals.
Balkman had 18 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes in Game Four but was hounded with foul trouble all game long. He had four entering the fourth period after only getting one in the first half.
Alab lost Game Four, 88-83, on Monday to end up in a winner-take-all title match on Wednesday night at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.
Alapag was disappointed with the calls that prevented Balkman from playing longer minutes.
“I wasn’t happy with the referees’ calls tonight. No way Balk is attacking the basket like that that aren’t fouls, but yet on our end, they are calling touch fouls,” said Alapag.
“But again, we haven’t given excuses but I thought tonight, some of those attacks to the rim should have been fouls. They weren’t called,” he added.
The rookie coach, however, said his team also shot itself in the foot particularly in its season-high output in turnovers that Mono took advantage in Game Four.
“We still hurt ourselves. Season-high in turnovers, 26. Can’t happen in a closeout game. That’s on us,” said Alapag.
The former Gilas Pilipinas skipper said Alab Pilipinas can’t afford to make mistakes against a team that has the firepower of Michael Singletary, Samuel Deguara, Jason Brickman, and Paul Zamar, who totaled 64 points in Game Four.
“We’ve averaged 12 or 13 turnovers this season. Cannot have 19 in the first half in the closeout game. Like I said, this is a very good team that we are playing against. They are well-coached. You can’t give them many opportunities,” he added.
The winner-take-all Game Five is scheduled on Wednesday night at the Sta. Rosa, Laguna. And with just two days remaining before the deciding match, the entire Alab squad immediately went to the Bangkok airport to go home to Manila.
Alapag hopes his team will be able to atone for their Game Four mistakes as the series shifts the Philippines.
“We are out of here tonight. We head home tonight. Tomorrow is recovery day, take a look at the film, be ready for Wednesday,” said Alapag.