Alab hopes to ride regular-season momentum in Game One of ABL playoffs vs Saigon Heat
Jimmy Alapag and Alab are heavy favorites over sixth seeded Saigon Heat. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas begins its campaign in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) quarterfinals at home to Saigon Heat on Sunday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Alab Pilipinas ended the regular season with a three-game win streak and hopes to carry over the momentum to the 8 p.m. opener of their best-of-three series against the Heat.

The Philippine side finished tied for second with Hong Kong Eastern and Mono Vampire at 14-6 (win-loss) but slipped to No. 3 seed in the tiebreak. Hong Kong took No. 2 and gained outright entry to the semis.

Saigon ended up at 10-10 to secure the sixth and final berth in the playoffs. However, the Heat lost both matches to Alab in the regular season. 

Alab coach Jimmy Alapag expressed confidence in the team’s chances of advancing to the semifinals.

“Regardless of where we end up, I’m happy with where we are as a team. We will be ready for the playoffs,” the former Gilas Pilipinas captain said.

Alab will lean on Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman in its playoff run but reigning local MVP Ray Parks, Jr. stressed the importance of giving the two world imports support in the playoffs.

“Coming into this year, we have a great group of guys and a great coaching staff. These guys have the experience. We have two NBA-caliber imports. We are here to back them up,” Parks said.

The Heat, making the first playoff appearance in franchise history, will be led by world imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, along with Fil-American Michael Williams.

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