A big third quarter allowed the Macau Black Bears to pick up a crucial victory against the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club, 113-93, at home to level their series at two wins apiece in the elimination round.
After finding themselves down by as much as 14 points in the second quarter, the Black Bears caught fire in the third period where they decimated Hong Kong Eastern with 42 points while limiting the visiting former ABL champions to only 13.
Their third quarter explosion was led by Anthony Tucker’s 18 points and three assists in the period as he single-handedly outscored their opponents. Hong Kong Eastern found it tough to compete against Macau as both Sam Deguara and Michael Holyfield committed their fourth personal fouls in the period, forcing coach Edu Torres to take them out of the game during crucial minutes and leaving Marcus Elliott as the lone import on the floor.
The Black Bears we down by 14 points, 40-26, just past the midway mark of the second period after two free throws from Holyfield. Macau was able to cut their deficit down to 10, 51-41, heading into the half to set up their big performance at the start third.
Macau opened the third period quickly with an 11-1 run to tie the count at 52-all. It was only a three-point lead in favor of the Black Bears, 64-61, with three minutes remaining but that was when Macau took complete control of the game thanks to the joint efforts of Tucker and Derek King who spear-headed their 19-3 run to break the game wide open.
Hong Kong Eastern tried to mount rallies in the fourth but they were kept at bay with timely baskets from the Black Bears who cruised to their ninth victory against seven defeats.
Tucker was amazing throughout the game with 27 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, while committing only a single turnover. Mikh McKinney backed him up with 30 points and eight rebounds.
The Black Bears had 15 triples in the game compared to only seven for Hong Kong Eastern who fell to 12-10.
Elliott had 28 points for Hong Kong Eastern with Holyfield adding 25 markers. Chan Siu Wing had 17 points in the game but he did most of his damage in the opening quarter.
The two big men in the game basically canceled each other out as Ryan Watkins had 12 points and 13 rebounds while Deguara had 13 and 13.
Hong Kong Eastern now has a big decision in front of them as O’Darien Bassett is almost ready to return to active duty, which might mean Deguara or Holyfield will be on their way out.