It will be the second back-to-back for the Taipei Fubon Braves of the ASEAN Basketball League’s tenth season and they’re hoping to make it a clean sweep this time around as they welcome Hong Kong Eastern to the Taipei Heping Gymnasium on Saturday, November 30, at 7 pm.
The Braves are coming off their second win of the season, once again at the expense of the Macau Black Bears, 106-93, Friday night. This time around, it was a more dominant performance for the debuting ABL team as they used a big third-quarter run to keep Macau at bay. Taipei Fubon also took full advantage of Macau’s lack of ceiling as they dominated the scoring in the shaded area with a 58 to 36 advantage in inside points.
Tsai Wen-Cheng had a big bounce-back performance after struggling in their second game against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons. The veteran was aggressive all game long en route to a double-digit scoring performance as he’s quickly turning out to be a Black Bear hunter for his squad. He averaged 13.5 points per game against Macau while only scored two markers against the Dragons.
Taipei Fubon also got great contributions from their towers inside as Charles Garcia and Sim Bhullar barely missed from the field. Garcia was named the Best Player of the Game with 25 points and seven rebounds while Bhullar had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Together, the two made 18 of their 22 shot attempts as Macau simply did not have enough big bodies inside to serve as back-up to the 6-foot-6 Brandon Edwards.
OJ Mayo also had another sterling performance for the Braves with 26 points to lead his team in scoring. He was efficient from the outside as he made six threes in the game.
Hong Kong Eastern, on the other end, is coming off a loss in their season debut against the same opponent, 79-93. With drastic changes into their lineup, it was clear that there is still a lot of work to be done by the former champions. They started out well against the Black Bears but slowly ran out of steam as their defense fell apart in the fourth period, allowing Macau to rain down threes on them en route to the win.
As Marcus Elliott and O’Darien Bassett are no longer with the team, Trey Kell stepped up to be their biggest threat on offense. He poured in 25 of his team-high 31 points in the first half but he slowed down considerably in the third and fourth quarters as Macau focused their defense on stopping him.
Trey’s fellow imports TJ Price and Michael Holyfield had limited contributions as they spent a considerable amount of minutes on the bench. Holyfield picked up three fouls in the first half but his team responded well while he was on the bench as they had more speed to close out on Macau’s shooters. Hong Kong Eastern did not give up a lot of ground either when Price was on the bench but the problem was that he tried too hard to create for himself upon his return in the fourth quarter, which bogged down their offense.
Hong Kong Eastern is hoping that their pair of talented point guards in Chan Siu Wing and team captain Lee Ki would produce more to fill the void left behind by their superstar point guards. Lee needs to attempt more threes while Chan has to be a threat on offense and still be the team’s best defender at the point position. Lee only scored eight points in their debut while Chan failed to get on the board but had four rebounds, six assists, and four steals.