After a slow start to the season, it seems that Hong Kong Eastern are finally hitting their stride.
Hong Kong defended their home court with an 88-81 victory against the Singapore Slingers, Wednesday at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai. From a disappointing 3-4 start, Eastern have won four in a row to improve to seven wins.
O’Darien Bassett fired 26 points, including four triples, while adding three rebounds, seven assists, and four steals. Fellow World Import Marcus Elliott was right behind Bassett with a strong performance of 22 points and eight boards.
Eastern entered the fourth quarter down by five points, 64-59, against the Slingers who were coming off an impressive showing against Formosa Dreamers. Singapore, anchored by its impeccable defense, has proven to be a deadly team early in the season. But Hong Kong relied on crucial stops and timely baskets to counter Singapore.
Bassett knotted the game up at 67 with a 3-pointer under eight minutes remaining. Eastern then unleashed a momentum-shifting 13-3 run capped off by a jumper from Elliott to make it 78-70 in favor of the home team. The Slingers tried desperately to counter and have a scoring burst of their own. A John Fields basket with a minute and a half remaining put the Slingers within five points but Bassett answered with a fearless 3-pointer on the other end, breaking the backs of the visiting team. Eastern outscored the Slingers, 29-17, in the final quarter and sealed the win with clutch free throws.
Xavier Alexander poured in 29 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists for Singapore who suffered its fourth defeat in 10 games. Fields ended up with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. The missing ingredient for the Slingers was the quiet output of Jerran Young. After scoring 27 points in his last game, Young settled for just 11 points versus Hong Kong on 5-for-13 shooting. He added 12 rebounds, six assists, and four steals before fouling out.
Eastern had the upper hand shooting the basketball at 47 percent compared to the Slingers’ 40 percent. They also hit nine triples and were able to overcome their 19 turnovers.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday, January 11. Hong Kong goes for five straight against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas while Singapore will regroup before it faces the Wolf Warriors.