HONG Kong Eastern snapped San Miguel Alab Pilipinas' seven-game win streak with a hard-earned 88-83 victory in the 2019 Asean Basketball League (ABL) on Wednesday at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai.
Without hulking center PJ Ramos due to food poisoning, the defending champions were left with a gaping hole down low, one which the hosts took full advantage of behind the twin tower combo of world imports Sam Deguara and Michael Holyfield.
The two conspired in giving Hong Kong Eastern the early 14-point advantage, 27-13, and the hosts held off the Filipinos the rest of the way for their first victory in four meetings between the two rivals this season.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas suffered only their third loss of the season, all of which came on the road. It still remained on top of the standings at 13-3, though it dropped to an even 3-3 win-loss record away from home.
The Filipinos continue their road trip on Friday, when they face cellar-dweller Zhuhai Wolf Warriors.
Bobby Ray Parks willed Alab back in the game, dropping 11 in a 13-0 blitz to start the fourth quarter that turned a 71-64 deficit to a 77-71 advantage with 6:04 remaining.
But Marcus Elliott and Lee Ki immediately knotted the score with a pair of triples with 5:10 to play.
Hong Kong then brought the battle back inside as Deguara and Holyfield muscled their way to make it an 82-75 affair with 1:25 remaining.
Ethan Alvano and Renaldo Balkman made a pair of triples to close the gap, 86-83 with 22 ticks left, but Elliott slammed the door on Alab as he iced the game from the charity stripe in the last 14 seconds.
The loss spoiled Parks' 29-point explosion, 13 of which came in that fateful fourth period, while also collecting five rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Balkman was held to only got 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting, on top of 13 boards, five dimes, four steals, and a rejection.
Josh Urbiztondo tried to light a fire under Alab with his 3-of-6 shooting from downtown to notch 11, as Alvano scattered 11 points and 10 assists.
Holyfield, who was activated in lieu of injured guard O'Darien Bassett, had a rousing debut with his 19 points, 20 rebounds, and two steals for Hong Kong Eastern, which rose to fourth place with their 12-9 win-loss slate.
Deguara had his way without his rival Ramos on the floor as he poured in 18 points and grabbed a whopping 31 rebounds, to go with his eight blocks and three assists.
HONG KONG EASTERN 88 - Holyfield 19, Deguara 18, Lee 17, Elliott 13, Chan 9, Lau 6, Tang 3, Lam 3, Siu 0, Yang 0, Xu 0.
SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS 83 - Parks 29, Balkman 14, Alvano 11, Urbiztondo 11, Tiongson 9, Domingo 6, Alabanza 2, Rosser 1, Javelona 0, Rivero 0, Torres 0.
Quarters: 27-15, 43-36, 71-64, 88-83.