Coming off back-to-back losses, Hong Kong Eastern is looking to bounce back at home but that is going to be easier said than done as they face off against another team coming off a loss in the Macau Black Bears, Tuesday night at the Southorn Stadium.
Hong Kong Eastern dropped a tough loss on the road against the CLS Knights Indonesia after dropping a close one to the Formosa Dreamers at home. Early in the ninth season, it’s looking like a tougher road for the former champions as they easily handled both squads last season. With the league rules regarding eligibility in place, the talent for all the teams has leveled out as Hong Kong Eastern learned in their last two games.
While the home team will surely be banking on former World Import MVP Marcus Elliott and league rookie Eric Ferguson, the matchup that many are waiting for is the one in the middle.
Sam Deguara will have his hands full, especially defensively, as he takes on Ryan Watkins, the top scorer and rebounder in the league right now. Averaging 34.0 points and 16.3 rebounds per contest, Watkins as impressed early in his ABL career but he’ll face his biggest challenge, literally and figuratively, in Deguara.
Local could also play an important role in this match as Nathan Yu and Liu Zihao played well for Macau in their last game against Saigon with a combined 22 points.
This means that Lee Ki, Lau Tsz Lai, and Chan Siu Wing will have to chip in offensively, specially with their outside shooting.
Last season, Hong Kong Eastern had an antidote for the Black Bears’ prolific tandem of Mikh McKinney and Anthony Tucker as they had Elliott and Tyler Lamb. With the latter no longer in their lineup, a local will have to step of to defend one of the imports.
The trade-off for the home team is that they have a forward import in Ferguson who will be a matchup nightmare in their favor.
The four games these two teams played last year were all exciting affairs so ABL should expect another great one from the two East Asian teams.