Chong Son Kung Fu avenged their first loss of the season as they took down the Saigon Heat at home, 94-79, Wednesday night as they inched closer to the league-leading Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team in the standings.
Quiet from the field all game long, Antony Tucker exploded in the fourth quarter for Kung Fu as he scored a majority of his points when his team broke the game wide open.
With the Heat wanting to mount a final rally late in the game with Akeem Scott, trimming their deficit down to 11 points, 83-72, Kung Fu relied on their World Imports to put the finishing touches in the game. Justin Howard back-to-back baskets which were quickly followed by a three-point shot from Tucker to extend their lead to 18 points, 90-72, and put the game away.
Tucker had another triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in the game. He did not have a single turnover but he only shot 7 of 17 from the field. This was also his third triple-double of the season, tying up Marcus Elliott to lead the entire league. Howard had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the contest. His double-double is featured as the 76th double-double of his career, tying Steven Thomas for most All-Time n the ABL.
The first half featured out to be the fiery contest that ABL fans were expecting between both teams.
Maxie Esho led the charge for Saigon in the first quarter as they took a 24-18 lead after the first 10 minutes. Mikh McKinney, on the other end, was perfect from the floor in the first half as he led a second-quarter surge for Chong Son. He capped the half with a three-ball to beat the buzzer that enabled them to grab a 44-38 advantage heading into the break.
Powered by Esho’s 11 third-quarter points, the Heat climbed back from the deficit and even took the lead, 52-51, after a rare triple from Saigon’s World Import. But the Kung Fu had an answer to the rally as Luo Yongxuan heated up from deep later in the third with two triples. For the second straight time, it was McKinney who finished the quarter with a three for Kung Fu as they led 70-60 heading into the final quarter.
McKinney finished with 23 points in the game with 7 rebounds and 4 assists while his fellow Heritage Import Caelan Tiongson had 13 points and 6 rebounds. For the second straight game, Luo scored in double digits with 11.
The Heat’s loss put to waste another big game from Esho who was the AirAsia Player of the Game in their first meeting. The big man had 27 points and 17 rebounds which were backed up by Scott’s 22 points. Moses Morgan and Williams combined for 25 points in the contest while David Arnold failed to score for the rest of the ballgame after opening the first quarter with a triple.