China’s Chong Son takes top-seed from HK; Alab out of top two

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 28, 2018 09:55 PM
China’s Chong Son takes top-seed from HK; Alab out of top 2
Playing in their maiden season in the ABL, Chong Son Kung Fu is the top-seed in the playoffs

Chinese team Chong Son got off to a slow start in its showdown with Hong Kong for the top-seed in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League.

That was until Anthony Tucker took over.

Firing all of his 29 points in the last 21 minutes of the game, Tucker spearheaded the 56-38 tidal wave in the second half that drowned home team Eastern Basketball Team in an 88-77 decision on Wednesday at the Southorn Stadium.

Behind Tucker, Chong Son claimed the top-seed after the elimination round as well as the automatic advance into the semifinals it entails.

They also dashed the hopes of Alab Pilipinas for a top two finish as the decision sends the Filipinos to the third-seed and into the quarterfinals.

While Hong Kong settles for the second-seed, it still has an outright berth into the semis as well as the luxury of extended rest.

That means that Kung Fu and Eastern will already be waiting in the semis while Alab Pilipinas dukes it out with sixth-seeded Saigon of Vietnam in the quarterfinals starting on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Chong Son fell victim to a scorching 7-22 start by Hong Kong as Tucker was held scoreless in the first 19 minutes of the game.

When the American finally got a long two to go near the end of the first half, however, the floodgates just opened.

Tucker’s eight straight points early in the third detonated the blast which erased an eight-point deficit and erected a 50-44 advantage midway through the quarter.

He wouldn’t let up in the fourth either, and dropped back-to-back bombs in his team’s 14-0 run to start the quarter for a 72-54 edge.

Eastern would not threaten for the remainder of the game and rookie team Kung Fu wrapped up the elimination round with a 15-5 standing.

Tucker wasn’t alone in doing the heavy lifting as Justin Howard also posted a monster double-double of 24 points and 22 rebounds. Filipino-blooded Caelan Tiongson and Mikh Mckinner also added 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

Tyler Lamb top-scored for the defending champions with 30 points while Marcus Elliott chipped in 20 markers of his own.

With no answer for Tucker, however, they wind up the elims with a 14-6 record, tied with the Filipinos and Thailand’s Mono.

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