Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club remains alone at the top as they retained their unscathed record by defeating the Westports Malaysia Dragons, 96-81, Wednesday night at the MABA Stadium aka thhe Dragons’ Den in Kuala Lumpur.
It was a familiar foe that turned out to be the biggest thorn on the side of the Dragons as Justin Howard, who had many fiery battles against them as a member of the Singapore Slingers before, led the Chinese side with 31 points on an efficient 11 of 17 shooting from the field. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year also added 16 rebounds.
Howard did not do it alone as his fellow World import Anthony Tucker notched his second straight triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. Local Guo Kai also flexed his muscle with 19 points and 7 rebounds. A major factor towards the outcome of the game was on the glass where Chong Son Kung Fu out-rebounded the Dragons 50 to 28.
It was the first away game for Chong Son Kung Fu and they had to overcome anxious moments especially in the second quarter when the former ASEAN Basketball League champions made a hot run. Down by as much as 12 points in the opening 10 minutes, the Dragons turned it on in the second period making five three point shots to take the lead against the undefeated team. Curtis Washington, playing his first game in the ABL nailed three triples in the second to the delight of the hometown crowd.
After being outscored 27-19 in the first quarter, Westports Malaysia gave the visitors a dose of their own medicine as they won the second quarter 27-13 to take a 46-40 lead heading into the halftime break.
Chong Son Kung Fu started paying more attention to their inside game in the third period led by Justin Howard and Guo Kai. Anthony Tucker nailed a three at the 2:51 mark of the third to give the lead back to his squad 63-62, a lead that the Chinese team held on to until the final buzzer.
With Chong Son Kung Fu’s offense firing on all cylinders, the defense of the Dragons simply did not have enough energy to keep up leading to their first loss of the season.
Washington had an outstanding debut with 29 points and 9 rebounds but his fellow World import Marcus Marshall was far from his explosive form where he set a new league record of 60 points against Mono Vampire Basketball Club, as he was limited to only 16 markers in the game.