MANILA, Philippines – In an effort to boost what has so far been a difficult campaign in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), Alab Pilipinas is turning to a pair of talented imports.
Team manager Charlie Dy announced through social media on Monday that they are set to welcome Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman to the team, replacing their original hires of Reggie Okosa and Ivan Johnson.
Both American imports were productive for Alab: Johnson normed 22.67 points, 10.67 rebounds, and 3.67 assists per game, while Okosa posted solid numbers of 24 points and 13. 5 rebounds per contest. However, their efforts rarely translated to victories for the team; Alab Pilipinas has won only once in its first four games.
Enter Bronwlee and Balkman.
Brownlee is a massive fan favorite in the Philippines. The Ginebra import hit the buzzer-beating three-pointer that lifted the Gin Kings to the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup crown, then returned a year later to help them defend the championship.
He averaged 27.0 points and 11.6 rebounds per game through three conferences with the Gin Kings, per HumbleBola.
Balkman, in contrast, is a controversial figure in Philippine sports. He played for San Miguel, then known as Petron Blaze, in the 2013 PBA Commissioner's Cup, averaging 25.0 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. Yet he is best known for his brutal on-court meltdown in a game against Alaska, which culminated with him attempting to choke teammate Arwind Santos.
The incident led Balkman to be banned from the PBA and fined P250,000.
Alab Pilipinas returns to action on Wednesday against the Westports Malaysia Dragons at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
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