Two teams in the middle of the pack collide as the Macau Black Bears host the Taipei Fubon Braves, Friday night at Hall D of The Venetian Hotel.
Macau currently holds a 4-4 win-loss record while the Braves are at 6-4. It will be the third battle between these two teams with Fubon coming out on top in both instances. The Braves escaped with a close 95-91 win in the first game of the season and then score a more comfortable victory 106-93, which surely has made the Black Bears eager to get one back.
The Black Bears finally bared their teeth as they picked up a huge win against the Mono Vampire Basketball Club in their last game. Engaged in a tough battle against the erstwhile league-leaders, Macau banked on their efficiency as they shot better at 50% as compared to the visitors’ 42%. The home squad also took advantage of the number of fouls whistled against Mono Vampire as they had a 10-point advantage in free throws made.
In the past, Mikh McKinney formed a fearsome tandem with former ABL World Import Most Valuable Player Anthony Tucker. This season, however, he is making beautiful music with a new tag-team partner in Kenny Manigault. The two impressed against Mono Vampire as they both picked up 24 points while combining for 13 rebounds and 12 assists. They have developed chemistry rather quickly as they know how to take turns in attacking the defense.
Another guy who has also been putting in the hard work for Macau is Brandon Edwards. Although he is one of the smaller centers in the league, he makes up for it with sheer determination. He had an efficient performance against the Thai squad with 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting while also adding 13 rebounds and four blocks.
The Black Bears always knew that they had a great set of imports and they also realize that if their locals put up decent numbers, then they could be legitimate contenders his season.
This was exactly what happened against Mono Vampire as Jenning Leung and Liu Zihao both scored in double-digits to help their team out. Leung had a tremendous all-around game with six rebounds, five assists, and four steals while Liu waxed hot with five conversions from downtown.
The Braves, on the other end, continue their road tour in Macau after losing a tight game in the Philippines. It was a well-contested game between Fubon and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas but the home team simply had a little bit more gas left in the tank in the closing minutes. One aspect of the game that needs improvement for the Braves is their rebounding as they were clobbered on the boards 41-29 which led to a 15-2 advantage for Alab in second-chance points.
OJ Mayo remains to be the main man for the Braves as he dropped 35 points, six rebounds, and nine assists against Alab. However, he missed three crucial free throws in the fourth quarter that would have allowed them to keep Alab at bay.
Charles Garcia also continued his stellar play with 27 points on 10 of 14 shooting. However, Alab did a great job of making sure he would not be a factor in the rebounding department as Garcia was limited to only six caroms.
Still looking for his role in Fubon in Maxie Esho who will be playing his fourth game with the squad. When he was still playing for the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia, he was the main guy so there may be a bit of adjustment required to be more effective for the Braves. He still scored in double digits with 13 points but he did not shoot well from the field at 3 of 10. Esho did his best to work on the other stuff as he picked up six rebounds, two steals, and four blocks in a losing effort.