Alab Pilipinas has had their ups and downs in their rookie ABL season. Let’s round things up and take a look at what’s in store for them in the New Year!
“Season’s Greeting” is a six-part article where I took a brief look at each ABL team in the 2016 while also taking a shot at projecting their fate in 2017. I’ll try to keep it as lightheaded as I can.
Alab hasn’t really seemed to have a firm grasp on their identity just yet and with the recent dismissal of their World Imports (Seung-Jun & Dong-Jun Lee), we might be seeing a slightly different team when 2017 starts.
What we know from 2016: Alab Pilipnas
Alab played 3 home games in 2016 and all of them were jam-packed with fans lining up to get in. This was expected for a team based in the Philippines, but it was still impressive to witness in person.
- Hardest Fanbase to please
Alab fans are very supportive … but can also be brutally vicious. Some never let go of the fact that their team signed Asian Imports instead of American Imports. Even then, when the two Korean Imports were dismissed, some called out the team for throwing the two imports under the bus for the early season losses.
I feel like Alab fans won’t be pleased unless the teams wins every game by at least 30 points.
You know what? Even if they did win every game by at least 30 points, someone would be like “But that 12th guy on the bench didn’t even score in double-digits. You guys suck.”
Alab fans are the best. Or the worst. I don’t know anymore man.
- Bobby Effing Parks Junior
Hey, we knew that Junior was good. NBA D-League talents obviously have to be good. BUT HOLY CRAP I DIDN’T EXPECT HIM TO BE “41 POINTS IN HIS THIRD ABL GAME” GOOD. You can count the players who have scored at least 40 points in an ABL game on one hand and Parks is the pinky finger.
Take in as much of the BRP Jr. experience while you can while it lasts, ASEAN Basketball League.
26.3 Points. 58.3 FG%. 53.8 3P%. 9.5 Rebounds. 3.3 Assists.
- Supporting Cast
Aside from that, what else do Alab have going for them?
Lawrence Domingo is a solid wrecking ball of energy and hustle (10.5 points/4.3 rebounds), but he won’t get respect from the defense from midrage and especially from the Free Throw line (where he shoots 38.1%). With the Lee Brother gone, that’s pretty much all of the major support that BRP has been getting.
Cawaling, Fortuna, and Celiz have all been averaging 15+ minutes and while they have been doing adequately well, they’ll need to do more to support Alab on the floor if they want to be elite.
- Can you blow my Whistle, Baby
Alab averages the most fouls per game among all teams at 22.3. Before you go on a “refs are biased” rage, let’s take in consideration that the culprits of these fouls fall mostly on the Lee Brothers and Domingo. Which totally makes sense. The Lees lacked size and strength going up against Justin Howard/Xavier Alexander/Derek Hall/and Chris Oliver so they ended up fouling them for most of the time to stop them from easy baskets.
Now with the Lee Brothers gone, we’ll have to see if Alab can fill in the gaps with imports that can face opposing imports straight up without having to bail themselves out by fouling.
What we can expect for in 2017: Alab Pilipnas
Here’s what we know for sure: Alab is replacing their two World Import slots. As of the moment I am typing this, those two players seem to be 6’8″ Sampson Carter and 6’11” James Hughes.
Alab fans will be pleased to know that not only is Hughes tall and long, he’s was also described as NBA-Caliber athletic. While that was almost a decade ago for the 33 year old, it should still be an upgrade on what either Lee Brothers put on the table.
Carter on the other hand, isn’t exactly a typical big men which might disappoint Alab faithful that were expecting a twin tower combination. However, that might actually be the best solution. Instead of sliding Lawrence Domingo to the wing (where he seems pretty uncomfortable at) or using Celiz/Acuna/Cawaling for extended periods of the time, Coach Cuan can now use a lineup of Parks/Carter/Domingo/Hughes without having to sacrifice their natural positions.
We’ll get to see how well Hughes/Carter actually produces in those positions, but it looks like a pretty good upgrade on paper already.
- Bobby Ray Parks Jr. Going for 50
No one has ever scored 50 in the ABL whether by an import or a local player. The ABL All-Time high is 45 which was set by Justin Howard last year. Only three games in his career, Parks Jr. dropped 41. AND IT LOOKED SO EASY.
With 16 more games left in the season (plus playoffs), I have a hunch that Parks Jr. is going to make it a mission to put 50 points on the board in one…
- Opposing Team schemes to stop Parks Jr.
…and no one wants to be that one team that is recorded in history as the team that allowed a player to score 50 points. One thing people still associate the Toronto Raptors with is them being the team that Kobe scored 81 points on.
Opposing teams are going to be more aggressive in stopping Parks Jr. since Alab has displayed in the past 4 games that he does almost everything for the team. The two new imports are surely going to help distribute the attention, but make no mistake that Parks is going to be the center point of defensive schemes.
It’s going to be fun to see what teams throw at Parks and Alab.
Wishlist: Alab Pilipinas
Kiefer Ravena Jaron Teng
- Less Fouls
- Getting Chip Engelland to train Lawrence Domingo
- Bobby Ray Parks maintains his stupidly efficient reign of terror on the ABL
New Years Resolution: ALAB PILIPINAS
- Keep the fouls down
- Go to ABL Finals so that everyone can forget whatever the MX3 Kings did to the Philippines reputation in the league last season
- Make sure Lawrence Domingo and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. maintains their hair-do
- Start making ‘Fro Bros merchandise
- You know what? Just get the whole team to get an afro.
- Get Lawrence Domingo’s free throw percentage up to at least 50%
- SELL THOSE BEAUTIFUL BLUE AWAY JERSEYS
Conclusion: Alab Pilipnas
Fans might be disappointed in Alab Pilipinas so far in the ABL.
“Ugh, only a 2-2 record? And they have Bobby Ray Parks Jr. who scored 41 points in a game? Come on.”
However, that’s wildly taken out of context and downplays the fact that Alab has been playing at roughly the same level as that of the league contenders.
Singapore Slingers: 44.3 FG%, 31.5 3P%, 15.0 Assists, 80.7 Points
Alab Pilipinas: 45.0 FG%, 30.9 3P%, 14.3 Assists, 79.5 Points
It’s still a small sample and those are specifically selected categories to compare, but it does roughly translate to say that Alab is producing offense as efficiently as the league-leading Slingers. And that’s with their Korean Imports.
The main problem has been their defense. Not only do they struggle to stop opposing teams inside, they struggle to force turnovers (league-lowest 2.3 steals per game) with some of those steal gambles resulting in their aforementioned pile of fouls.
A lot will be expected on their new imports, more on how they will bring the defense together than on the offensive side where Parks Jr. can carry on his own for now.
Luckily for Alab, they will be starting of 2017 with the Kaohsiung Truth on January the 8th. Even though they will be playing in Taiwan this time, they have the psychological edge having beat the Truth convincingly twice already. It should be a good game for Hughes/Carter to gel and mesh with the team.
Check out the articles for the other teams here: