FOR Coach Louie Alas, the Philippine Patriots should only accomplish one mission in Malaysia today, Wednesday: to earn a finals berth. The game is slated 8 p.m. at the MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.
This came as the leaders in the 1st Asean Basketball League will fight tooth and nail to grab one of the two championship slots at the expense of the Kuala Lumpur Dragons in Game 2 of their best-of-three semifinals showdown.
The Patriots only needs to win this game before marching into the finals but Alas leaves no room for complacency.
“That will be an entirely different ballgame because their crowd is very supportive of their team. I just want my team to remember that everybody is an enemy in Malaysia,” said Alas.
In Game 1 last Sunday, the Patriots choke the Dragons to its lowest output by scoring a rout over the visiting Dragons, 77-43, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
On that blowout victory, Gabe Freeman scored 15 points, nine in the first half, along with 11 rebounds for the Patriots while Jason Dixon added 13 markers and 13 boards with two assists, two steals and two blocks.
The locals ably supported them with Jerwin Gaco pulling down 11 rebounds, Jaypee Alcaraz adding seven boards with a team-high six assists and Val Acuña coming off the bench to score 12 points in the pay-off period.
The Dragons, led by Filipino import Rudy Lingganay, registered a dismal 29 percent shooting on a poor 17-of-59 conversion. They made 13 of 41 attempts from the two-point field and connected on just five of eight free throws.
Inspired by the emphatic win, co-owner Harbour Centre of Mikee Romero only expected the same stellar performances as well.
“They have to play their best, much better than what they dished out the last time,” said Romero. “I expect Gabe (Freeman), Jason (Dixon) and the rest of our locals to step up. We have to advance to the finals because we are seeded No. 1 in this tournament.”
Meanwhile, the Singapore Slingers will also try to secure a finals appearance by repeating over Satria Muda BritAma of Indonesia at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta.
On their first face-off, the Slingers moved a win away from sealing a championship spot with an 87-68 win over BritAma held at Singapore Indoor Stadium. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)