In their most important game of the regular season, the Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club leaned on the heroics of their leading man.
With the top seed and an automatic semifinals berth on the line, Anthony Tucker came alive in the second half to help Chong Son get the 88-70 victory on the road against a determined Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team on Wednesday at the Southorn Stadium.
The win secured Chong Son of the number one seed heading into the playoffs after they finished the regular season with a 15-5 record. Not only do they get a Quarter-Finals Bye, they will also get homecourt advantage throughout the entire playoffs.
Tucker only put up two points in the first half, but caught fire in the last two quarters to finish with 29 points, including 6 triples. The World Import single-handedly changed the momentum of the contest because of his hot shooting. This brought him to a total of 73 three-pointers in the season, breaking the former Single Season record of 71 set by Westports Malaysia Dragons ex-Heritage Import, Matthew Wright.
“I’m ecstatic. it was a big win for us. We had to win to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs,” Tucker said after his team notched their sixth straight victory.
Tucker’s late game heroics proved critical as Chong Son fell behind as much as 15 points early in the contest. Hong Kong came out of the gates scorching, and finished with a 22-7 advantage after the opening quarter.
“We didn’t come out and play the best we could in the first quarter but we came together in the second quarter especially in the second half,” explained Tucker who was only able to score in the last minute of the second period. “I’m really happy we came out with the win.”
It was in the third quarter when Kung Fu made a counter punch as they embarked on an 18-5 run in the opening minutes. The third canto ended with Kung Fu holding a slim 58-54 edge.
By the fourth period, it became the Anthony Tucker show.
Kung Fu started the pivotal quarter on an 11-0 run anchored by back-to-back triples by Tucker. The World Import continued to shoot lights out as Hong Kong defenders struggled to keep up. Another long bomb by Tucker under seven minutes left ballooned Kung Fu’s lead to 17 points, 75-58, and the visiting team never looked back.
“I feel like I let my teammates down a little bit in the first half. I wasn’t being as aggressive I could be. I just wanted to come out and play better,” Tucker said about his scoring explosion. “In the second half we came together as a team to get the win.”
For Hong Kong, Tyler Lamb finished with 30 points and five steals. However, the defending champions could not overcome their poor shooting from the outside as they ended up with a 2-for-16 shooting clip from deep.
Despite the loss, Hong Kong still earns an outright seat in the semifinals after finishing second in the standings. San Miguel Alab Pilipinas drops to third place while Mono Vampire, Singapore Slingers, and Saigon Heat complete the playoff picture.
“We’re looking forward to watching the first round of the playoffs, watching the teams battle and see who we get in the second round,” shared Tucker. “Our plan is to just take it day-by-day and to get ready before the playoffs start. Hopefully we’re ready with whoever we need to play.”