Alab now a win away from winning championship
Jimmy Alapag is seeing Ray Parks Jr. developing by leaps and bounds, and the 6-foot-4 swingman is growing into his potential at the most opportune time.
Parks exploded for a game-high and league playoff-record 30 points, including a clutch jumper in the last 1:20, to lead San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to a 99-93 victory over Mono Vampire in Game 3 of the ASEAN Basketball League finals at Stadium 29 in Bangkok on Saturday.
Alab, which now leads the best-of-5 series 2-1, goes for the championship in Game 4 on Monday, also in Thailand.
“I think he’s just continuing to grow as a player,” Alapag said of Parks, who also made 5-of-10 3-pointers and shot 52% from the field overall (10 of 19).
“I was fortunate enough to spend time with Ray in the national team and I’ve just been really impressed with his growth.
“Tonight, without a doubt, that was just an MVP type of performance.”
Besides the numbers across the board, Parks showed his poise under pressure.
Up by just 3 with 1:42 left in the game, Parks scored a tightly contested jumper to make it 95-90 80 seconds remaining.
After a turnover by Mono’s Mike Singletary, Alab sealed the win with a basket by Lawrence Domingo.
“It was just a crazy sequence. It’s just my teammates really,” Parks said of his late-game basket, which came at the expense of Filipino guard Paul Zamar.
“They trust me to make shots. (Renaldo) Balkman made it clear yesterday that we just had to hit our shots.”
Following a painful 103-100 loss in Laguna on Wednesday, Alab returned the favor at Mono’s home floor, mounting a huge run after the break that held the hosts to just 17 points in the third quarter.
Justin Brownlee fired 27 points, 11 of which came in the third, while tallying 5 3-pointers, 12 rebounds and 7 assists overall.
Balkman was also a force with 24 points and 16 rebounds, as he helped contain Mono Vampire 7-foot-4 center Sam Deguara, who was limited to 19 points after scoring 30 in Game 2.
The Filipino club went toe to toe with Mono in the first half until Brownlee and Balkman picked up their play in the third as Alab took a 75-67 lead.
The visitors jacked up their lead to 11 points, until Zamar, Mike Singletary and Jason Brickman brought Mono to within 93-90 with 1:42 to go, which set up Parks’ heroics.
Singletary led Mono with 29 points, while Zamar and Brickman finished with 16 and 11, respectively.
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