STICKING to the game plan and bucking the presence of a hostile crowd proved vital as the Philippine Patriots crushed the hopes of Satria Muda BritAma Sunday night to bag the inaugural Asean Basketball League (ABL) crown in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Patriots relied anew on import standout Jason Dixon by exploding 28 points and 12 rebounds while Gabe Freeman had 17 markers and 19 boards to lift the Patriots 75-67 and completed a three-game sweep of their short best-of-five title series after winning Games 1 and 2 in Manila, 78-68 and 72-53.
“It’s nice to win a championship again. I told the boys to play as if we’re in the jungle and they responded well,” said Alas, who last tasted a championship with the Letran Knights in 2005.
Again, Alas said the key to their win is defense, adding: “The whole season we really emphasized on defense, especially this series.”
Despite the jeers of the largely Indonesian crowd, the Patriots did not allow themselves to be bothered but instead played aggressively on the defensive end.
“I told the boys to play as if we’re on the jungle and they responded well,” said Alas.
After trailing 13-17 in the first quarter, the Patriots zoomed offensively for a slim 35-31 halftime finish. The Patriots then banked on a 13-point lead in the third canto to make it 68-52 early in the pay-off period when Christian Coronel completed a steal and Freeman scored on an inside play.
The Philippine Patriots are in deep celebration after ruling the 1st Asean Basketball League (ABL) via a sweep over Satria Muda BritAma of Indonesia Sunday night at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Contributed photo)
Rony Gunawan paced the losing effort of the Indonesians with 20 points and seven rebounds while the import duo of Alexander Hartman and Nakiea Miller finished only with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, Kuhan Foo, chief executive officer of the ABL, commended the league for the success.
“This has been a fantastic start to our inaugural season and the league can only get stronger from here on out,” Foo said in a statement.
“We’ve already made a huge impact with our games televised live across the South East Asia and being streamed live on the internet in Europe, the United States and North Asia. We‘re looking at adding more teams to the league and we are working closely with the South East Asian Basketball Association making this league stronger in its second season that will start in October this year,” he added.
Philippines, 75 — Dixon 28, Freeman 17, Wainwright 9, Gaco 9, Ybañez 7, Sta. Maria 3, Coronel 2, Alcaraz 0, Acuna 0, Espiritu 0, Baclao 0, Mirza 0.
Indonesia, 67 — Gunawan R. 20, Hartman 14, Miller 13, Prihantono 9, Sondakh 8, Wuysang 2, Wijaya 1, Achmad 0, Gunawan G. 0, Siregar 0, Situmorang 0, Arifin 0.
Quarters: 13-17, 35-31, 64-52, 75-67.