Alab Pilipinas led by as much as 14 points, but needed a strong finishing kick to beat the Westports Malaysia Dragons anew, 87-79, Friday at the Baliwag Star Arena.
The local team improved to 8-4, while Westports sank to 2-9.
Alab tied their biggest lead on a Lawrence Domingo jumper, 74-60, with 5:45 left to play. However, Skylar Spencer scored eight of an 11-2 run to bring the visting team within five points, 76-71, still 3:08 on the clock.
Robby Celiz broke Alab’s dry spell with two charities, but Malaysia countered with a split at the foul line, followed by a Joshua Munzon dunk, for a 78-74 tally.
Off a Bobby Ray Parks miss, James Hughes collected the rebound and scored. Munzon halved the deficit though with a triple. Luckily for the Philippine side, Parks countered with a triple of his own, then Alab went 4-of-4 from the stripe to close this one out.
Earlier in the second period, a Sampson Carter jumper had Alab by 14 as well, 40-26. An 8-0 run by Westports allowed them to close the gap heading into the break however, 40-34. In the third, the Dragons closed the gap to four, 58-54, but JR Cawaling scattered five unanswered to give Alab more breathing room.
Sampson Carter had 15 points on a 4-of-8 shooting clip, to go with his 11 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks. Bobby Ray Parks had 15 as well, but struggled with his shot anew, finishing 6-of-18. He did add five dimes, two swipes, and a rejection.
James Hughes posted another double-double, 14 points and 18 rebounds. JR Cawaling and Robby Celiz came off the bench to score 14 apiece. They also combined for three of Alab’s six triples.
Kiwi Gardner came off the bench to drop 30, top-scoring for Malaysia. Fil-Am Joshua Munzon contributed 20 on 26 shots.
Alab finished shooting a 46 percent clip while holding Westports to just 32 percent shooting. The Dragons had plenty more opportunities at the foul line however, going 22-of-35 against 15-of-23 for the Filipinos. The visitors also outscored Alab 21-6 in turnover points.