The Macau Black Bear just could not seem to figure out a way to defeat the Taipei Fubon Braves. For the third time this season, the ABL newcomers got the better of the Black Bears as they picked up a 100-85 victory, Friday night at Hall D of The Venetian Macau.
The more troublesome factor in the loss for the Black Bears is that the margin keeps growing in favor of the Braves.
To open the ABL’s Tenth Season, Taipei Fubon defeated the Black Bears 95-91. The Braves repeated over them 106-93, in the rematch 13 days after before extending their winning margin all the way to 15 points in their latest meeting.
After a strong start, the Braves got their first taste of a double-digit lead 25-15, with 1:43 left in the opening period.
A barrage of triples early in the second allowed the Black Bears to inch closer as they found themselves down by just two points, 38-36, with 3:19 left in the period thanks to a Jenning Leung layup. However, It was followed by a personal 5-0 run from OJ Mayo and free throw conversions from Maxie Esho and Charles Garcia to lead by double-digits once again, 46-36.
Kenny Manigault caught fire in the third period as he almost single-handedly bridged the gap between them and Braves but Fubon simply weathered the storm as two Mayo free throws extended their lead to eight, 76-64, heading into the final quarter.
A 9-0 blast for the Braves surprised the Black Bears, early in the fourth, as Fubon doubled-up on their advantage to go ahead by 18 points, 87-69.
Macau tried to battle back but timely conversions from the three-point range for Esho, Joseph Lin, and Kuan Lim kept the Braves out of harm’s way.
Esho and Garcia were the top scorers for the team with 21 each. Mayo only had 20 points as he shot poorly from the field including a 1 of 4 clip from long range.
Luckily for them, backup arrived as Lin produced a stat-line of 18 points nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
For Macau, the leading contributor was Kenny Manigault who had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and nine assists. McKinney shot a solid 50% from deep for a total of 26 points along with four assists and two steals.
The key absence, at least in output, for the game was Liu Zihao who was not able to score all game long after a 15-point performance in their last game.
The Braves will have a shot at padding their tally this Sunday as they will battle against the Macau Wolf Warriors. Singapore, on the other end, will have on the Heat this coming Tuesday.