The playoffs of the 3rd season of the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League is underway. San Miguel Beermen faces the Westports Malaysia Dragons while the Air Asia Philippine Patriots is up against the Indonesia Warriors. When the regular season ended, the top 2 teams of the league were both from the Philippines. Many pundits are expecting an All-Filipino finals. Malaysia and Indonesia are bent to prevent the dream match-up. The first games of each series have shown that it is quite possible that there will be no Filipino team in the Finals. Both visiting teams gave the home teams a hard time and one team even managed to snatch a victory over a higher seed foe. Here are the game recaps of the Game 1 of each series:
San Miguel Beermen 111 – 104 OT Westports Malaysia Dragons
San Miguel won the first playoff match in their inaugural season in the ABL by beating the Malaysia Dragons. The Beermen needed five extra minutes to secure a 1-0 in the best of 3 semifinal match-up. Led by super import Brian Williams, who finished with a near triple-double 32 points 15 rebounds and 9 assists, Malaysia almost game 1 from the top seeded team of the regular season. The Beermen got a magnificent performance from Chris Bachero who dished out 15 assists along with 18 points and 6 steals.
The game was very close in regulation as it was marked by several lead changes and impressive clutch shooting from both teams. In overtime, San Miguel took control early by scoring 5 straight points and they never looked back. Nick Fazekas and Duke Crews combined for 57 points while ABL local MVP candidate Leo Avenido added 17. Aside from Williams, Malaysia got big games from import Tiras Wade and Filipino import Patrick Cabahug who finished with 23 and 24 points respectively. Game 2 will be played in Malaysia on June 2.
The Indonesia Warriors stole home court advantage in their playoff series as they upset the No.2 seed Air Asia Philippine Patriots. Indonesia used a fast start and excellent defense to grab an unexpected 44-23 lead at half-time. The Patriots rallied in the 3rd to cut margin to six at 52-58 but Indonesia held on to win the defensive battle and grab a 1-0 lead in their series.
Filipino-American Stanley Pringle led the underdogs with 23 points. He was ably backed up by the double-double of import Steve Thomas (17 points 19 rebounds). Anthony Johnson had 21 points in the losing effort. Game 2 will be held at Britama Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia on June 3.
Warriors: Stanley Pringle – 23, Steve Thomas – 17, Evan Brock – 8, Amin Prihantono – 6, Joseph Allan Salangsang – 5, Mario Wuysang – 4, Jerick Canada – 4, Rony Gunawan – 4, Christian Ronaldo Sitepu – 2.
- Cebuanos in the ABL: Season Stats of Cebuano Beermen so far (cebulive.wordpress.com)
- B-Meg releases ex-USJR star Roger Yap to San Miguel Beermen (cebulive.wordpress.com)
- San Miguel draws first blood in ABL semis, downs Malaysia (sports.inquirer.net)
- San Miguel Beermen beat Slammers on Roger Yap’s debut (cebulive.wordpress.com)
- Beermen, Patriots aiming to bring ABL title back home (sports.inquirer.net)
- Saigon upsets 2nd place San Miguel to keep playoff hopes alive (lookatvietnam.com)