Hong Kong Eastern gave the Wolf Warriors a rude welcome to the ASEAN Basketball League with a dominant 107-75 victory Friday night at the Doumen Gymnasium in Zhuhai, China to open the ninth season. It was the most points scored by a team and the biggest win in a season opening game.
The champions of the seventh season hit the ground running on the road as they quickly pounced on the Wolf Warriors who were still trying to figure out what kind of team they are.
Debuting import Eric Ferguson of Hong Kong Eastern dropped 12 points in the opening quarter with former World Import – Most Valuable Player Marcus Elliott added eight points as they quickly built a commanding 20-point lead 30-10.
The Wolf Warriors banked on 2001 NBA First Round Pick Eddy Curry to cut their deficit to 15 at the end of the first 10 minutes of action.
After a hotly contested second quarter, Hong Kong Eastern had another dominant performance in the third where they outscored the Wolf Warriors 26-17, bringing with them a commanding 77-49 advantage in the fourth quarter as they cruised to an easy victory.
It was a great debut for Hong Kong Eastern as they try to get a jump start. Last season, the finished the elimination round with a 14-6 win-loss tally. It allowed them to get a free pass into the semifinals but they ran into a brick wall in eventual champions San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.
They no longer have the multi-talented Tyler Lamb in their roster but they made a huge upgrade in their center spot as they are now parading Sam Deguara, who helped Mono Vampire make it to the ABL Finals last year.
The 7-foot-5 behemoth more than held his own against Curry with 17 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 6 of 12 from the field. Ferguson was a revelation for Hong Kong Eastern with 26 points and 10 rebounds on an ultra-efficient 10 of 12 shooting clip while Elliott had a different double-double with 23 points and 11 assists.
Hong Kong Eastern welcomed back their ace shooting guard Chan Siu Wing who missed the entire season last year with an injury. He chipped in 14 points and three rebounds while playing with his usual energy on defense. Chan and fellow local Lau Tsz Lai combined for 7 of 16 shooting from the three-point range to add much-needed local flavor to their import-led attack.
The Wolf Warriors, on the other end, were easier to defend as a majority of their shots came from three sources. Curry led them with 18 points but he shot poorly from the field at 8 of 23 while Cai Chen chipped in 15.
Indonesia basketball legend and former CLS Knights guard Mario Wuysang debuted for the Wolf Warriors after a short retirement and he showed he can still hoop, finishing with 13 points and four rebounds in the game.
The Wolf Warriors will try to rebound against the Macau Black Bears in their next game on November 21 while Hong Kong Eastern have their home debut against the Formosa Dreamers on the same day.