AJ Mandani scored 11 of his 23 points in the fourth period to lead Singapore to victory over Tanduay Alab Pilipinas (Photo by Jamil Buergo)
The Singapore Slingers caught fire in the fourth quarter to beat Tanduay Alab Pilipinas at home again, 90-80, Wednesday night in the 8th Season of the Asean Basketball League held at the jampacked Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Tied at 64 entering the fourth period, Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani and World import Chris Charles conspired on a 15-5 run that saw the Slingers build a 79-69 lead with 4:48 left in the game. The home team sued for time as they tried to stop the breakaway of Singapore.
As Alab was able to cut the deficit to 6 with only 2 minutes left in the game, frustration mounted on the Alab side as Coach Jimmy Alapag was called for a technical foul after lividly going after the referees over a non-call on the travelling violation of Xavier Alexander that led to a basket, which also seemed a split-second late after the shot clock buzzer sounded.
With Alexander’s controversial basket and the technical free throw converted by Mandani, the extra possession gained by Singapore resulted to another triple by Mandani giving the Slingers an 88-76 advantage with only a minute left in the game and put an end to Alab’s comeback effort.
Despite being called for his first technical foul in his young coaching career, the amiable Alab mentor is not pinning the blame on the referees. “I’ll never blame the referees for a loss, but that was a bad call, a really bad call.” Alapag said. “It was a big call. And again, it was something that I wasn’t happy about. But that wasn’t what cost us the game. I think Singapore just played a better game.” he added.
Xavier Alexander almost got a triple-double with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists and added 5 steals in a no-relief performance for Singapore. “After playing bad last game (against Alab), I just wanted to refocus and come out here, play loose and find my teammates and I ended up doing that and we ended up being successful” said Alexander, who has been playing for the Slingers since 2015.
AJ Mandani scored 23 points for the Slingers, including 11 in the fourth period. The 14th overall pick in the 2012 PBA draft shot 6 of his 8 three point attempts in the game and added 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Chris Charles paced Singapore with 29 points and 15 rebounds.
Renaldo Balkman led Alab Pilipinas with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Justin Brownlee struggled all night but still managed to score 16 points on 7/19 field goals and hauled down 11 rebounds.
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas will next face the Mono Vampire Basketball club of Thailand on January 14 at Stadium 29 in Bangkok.
Singapore Slingers (90) – Charles 29, Mandani 23, Alexander 20, Goh 6, Liew 5, Ng 3, Low 2, Lim 2 Oh 0, Tay 0, Folkoff 0.
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas (80) – Balkman 24, Brownlee 16, Parks 16, Urbiztondo 12, Maierhofer 6, Raymundo 4, Celiz 2, Domingo 0, Sumalinog 0, Hontiveros 0, Alabanza 0
Quarterscores: 12-19, 42-38, 64-64, 90-80