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    Urbiztondo hits timely shots, but pesky defense impresses Alapag more in Alab win

    Jan 28, 2019
    PHOTO: Ron Tolin

    STA. ROSA -- Josh Urbiztondo seemingly turned back the hands of the clock with his vintage performance on Sunday in San Miguel Alab Pilipinas' 88-76 victory over Hong Kong Eastern in the 2019 ASEAN Basketball League.

    The 35-year-old gunner flashed his old self with his on-point sniping, going 4-of-8 from downtown on his way to 16 points.

    "Josh has been playing this game for a while. He's the eldest statesman in this team, but that's why he's one of the leaders," observed head coach Jimmy Alapag. "He's a big time shot maker and a great floor spacer, especially for this team and he was due to come out. I was just really happy."


    But more than his scoring, Urbiztondo's energy was infectuous as he was all over the floor, grabbing 50-50 balls and giving his side second chances while also being a pest on the defensive end to command Alab's third quarter pullaway that saw them take a 73-55 lead.

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    "We expect him to make shots, but defensively, he was great. His pressure on the ball, setting the tone for our guards who is a little bit younger than he is. I thought he played great," Alapag said.

    For his part, Urbiztondo said that he just wanted to step up to the plate for his injured peers while also proving that he still belongs.

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    "With guys going down, guys getting injured unfortunately with aches and pains and with all the traveling, guys just have to step up. A lot of guys can do that and tonight it was me. We just have a great group of guys who help each other out," he said.

    More encouraging to see is the way Urbiztondo has done it, serving as a role model for younger teammates like Ethan Alvano, Paolo Javelona, and Thomas Torres.

    "I told the guys, 'Man, if I can do it in my age, you guys can do it too.' We have a lot of threats on the offensive end, but we can't score if we don't get stops. We got great defensive players and it all starts with the guards on top," he said.

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    With the way Urbiztondo has played over the past few games, he's hoping that the other Alab players follow suit, especially with a tough road schedule ahead of them.

    "They better," he said. "They've been doing such a great job and the versatility that we have with the young guys. We just gotta make sure we help each other out and hopefully sana tuluy-tuloy na ang panalo."

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    PHOTO: Ron Tolin
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