Looks like Renaldo Balkman has learned how to play Filipino basketball.
Matched up against 7-foot-5 Sam Deguara, the Puerto Rican used both his heart and smarts to tow Alab Pilipinas past Thailand’s Mono Vampire, 86-84, on Wednesday at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.
Balkman was brilliant all throughout and wound up with 31 points, including what proved to be the game-winner, on top of 13 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks to lead his team to a sixth consecutive victory and ninth overall in 13 games.
He wasn’t alone, though, and had help from Justin Brownlee who had 16 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, and four steals as well as Ray Parks Jr. who scored 10 markers of his own to help the Philippines rise to solo third in the standings.
Still, it was the 6-foot-8 reinforcement who finished a sensational setup by Brownlee that won the game for his side.
With the two teams tied at 84 with 19.2 ticks to go on the clock, Alab’s imports went to the pick and roll which ended with Brownlee bouncing a pass leading to a Balkman layup.
The Thais had 3.8 seconds to make something happen, but Brownlee would close the door on them once and for all by blocking a triple try from Mike Singletary.
That sealed the deal in a changeup atop the standings with the Philippines displacing Thailand from the third spot.
Now at 9-5, Mono dropped to the fourth-seed despite the best efforts of Deguara who had 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Filipino-American Jason Brickman contributed an 11-point, 11-assist double-double while full-blooded Filipino Paul Zamar had 12 markers to his name in the losing effort.