JUSTIN Brownlee remains absent for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, but it doesn't mean that the rest of the team will just roll over and die.
Lawrence Domingo personified that next-man-up mentality as he played big for the Philippine side in its 99-79 win over Saigon Heat in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last Sunday.
"With or without anyone, guys have got to step up and we’re still trying to get our rhythm and our flow going. So even though we would’ve loved for Justin to be here, I feel like this is good for us to build on our team chemistry, getting ready for him to come on board," Domingo said.
The 6-foot-5 Fil-Am forward stepped up for Alab and filled the role of a defensive stalwart with his six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks that complemented his 18 points and two assists.
Domingo was quick to deflect all the attention.
"I think everybody knew that guys got to step up. Guys like Brandon (Ganuelas-Rosser) and Tzaddy (Rangel) coming in and playing big minutes. I think that this was really a good win for us in the sense of moving in the direction that we want to move in, going to the playoffs," he said.
Ganuelas-Rosser also held his own in the paint with his eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and one block in 18 minutes of action while the seldom-used Rangel had five points and three boards off the bench.
Their contributions were big as Alab remained in second place with its 10-6 card.
Seeing the potential that the young guys can bring when given the baton, Domingo hopes that these performances can be sustained with 10 more games left in the team's regular season.
"This is a new Alab team and I kinda expected that we’d still try to find our way, but I think we got a great group of guys and we’re starting to move in the direction that we want to move in," he said.
"We got a couple of setbacks but that happens throughout the season, and it’s about getting over those humps that you have and it builds character, team camaraderie. As long as we’re there at the end, how we get there is a different part of the story."
Domingo is confident that whatever issues the Ginebra resident import is facing that has led to delays in his arrival, will be sorted out sooner than later.
'I definitely trust Justin and whatever he got going on, he needs to be handling it. And we’ll be ready for him when he gets here,' he said.
"I'm not doubting us at all. I have the utmost confidence in our team in this run that we’re about to make. We just got to stay with it and get back in the lab, work out some kinks, and I feel we’ll be alright."