Howard towers above all to lift Singapore to Game 1 win against HK
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 15, 2017 10:05 PM
POWER. The Hong Kong frontline was no match for Singapore's Justin Howard.
Hong Kong may have dominated the elimination and semifinal rounds of the 2016-2017 Asean Basketball League, but it’s Singapore that knows a thing or two about the Finals.
Proving more determined right from tip-off, the Slingers ambushed the home crowd-backed Eastern Long Lions for a 92-76 decision on Saturday at the Southorn Stadium.
Justin Howard was immovable from the paint and impossible to drag down, powering through a total 45-point, 28-rebound double-double. On his back, Singapore seized a 1-0 lead in the race-to-three championship round.
The American reinforcement already had 26 points and 15 rebounds in the first half alone to carry his squad to a strong start. No one from Josh Boone to Shing Yee Fong were able to push him out of his comfort zone.
Filipino-American Josh Urbiztondo also did his part with 23 points.
With Howard’s dominance, Xavier Alexander and Wong Wei Long didn’t even have to do much and wound up with just 14 and four points, respectively.
A season ago, Howard and Singapore were on the cusp of the title only to be upended by Malaysia. This year, they return more determined than ever to bag the franchise’s first-ever championship.
Marcus Elliott did his best to keep the Eastern Long Lions in the game with a total of 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds.
Without much help from Boone who only had 11 points on 31 percent shooting, however, Hong Kong dropped Game 1 and lost homecourt advantage in the Finals.
Game 2 is set on Tuesday still in Southorn Stadium.
SINGAPORE 92 – Howard 45, Urbiztondo 23, Alexander 14, Folkoff 4, Wong 4, Goh 2, Kwek 0, Oh 0, Ng 0, Liew 0
HONG KONG 76 – Elliott 20, Lamb 19, Boone 11, Chan 9, Fong 6, Lee 6, Guinchard 5, Wu 0
QUARTER SCORES: 24-21, 46-41, 68-58, 92-76
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