In the last game of their maiden season in the ABL, the Formosa Dreamers put up a spirited fight but fell short against the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team as the defending champions held on to a 99-93 victory at the Southorn Stadium.
Hong Kong Eastern needed to take care of business, specially against the Dreamers and the Westports Malaysia Dragons, before they face off against the Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club for their final game of the elimination round to ensure that they will finish at the top spot and march directly into the semifinals in their title-retention bid.
Christian Standhardinger was picked as the AirAsia Player of the Game with 33 points and 15 rebounds in the game. The Filipino-German Heritage Import was efficient from the field as he made 15 of his 23 attempts.
With the Dreamers threatening a comeback late in the fourth quarter, Standhardinger scored on a putback then quickly followed it up with a steal and dunk to re-establish a double-digit lead, 99-89, with 1:48remaining in the game. The big man stepped up in winning time to offset the disqualification of Marcus Elliott who was ejected due to a technical foul and an unsportsmanlike foul.
Still, Standhardinger wasn’t entirely happy with the result of the contest.
“We need to take this momentum and carry it over to the next games. We just have to keep going hard. We need to be up by 20 at the end of the game,” he said after the contest.
It didn’t take long before the defending champions took complete control of the game. After a 9-9 tie, Ryan Moss started a Hong Kong Eastern rally with four straight points. Christian Standhardinger gave them their first taste of a double-digit lead at 22-11 before Tyler Lamb and Marcus Elliott capped their big first quarter with a three and a buzzer-beating dunk to lead, 29-16.
Hong Kong Eastern appeared to have broken the game wide open in the third quarter as they connected with five triples in the period, three coming from Lee Ki who shook of a rolled ankle by heating up from deep. They led by as much as 26 points, 80-54, with 2:57 remaining in the third.
However, Formosa refused to quit led by Yang Tian You who led the Dreamers with 25 points and six assists. Formosa outscored the defending champions 26-17 in the fourth quarter but they simply did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
Cameron Forte added 24 points and 15 rebounds to Formosa’s cause while Ronnie Aguilar chipped in 18 points and 12 rebounds.
“The opportunity to play in ABL was something we did not have before. The lessons they learned will help our players evaluate their skill,” said Formosa coach Hsu Hao Cheng who’ll surely use the experience they’ve gained in their first season to build an even more competitive team in their return.
Tyler Lamb and Elliot both got close to triple-doubles against Formosa as the former had 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists while the latter finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lee added 15 markers, all on three-point shots, while Moss finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks.