The Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions finally got a win against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas this ASEAN Basketball League season, taking an 88-83 victory in their final meeting of the year at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong on Wednesday night.
Seven-foot-five behemoth Sam Deguara and new signing Michael Holyfield made the most out of the absence of fellow beanpole PJ Ramos as Eastern took the tail end of their two-game series against Alab at home.
Alab dearly missed Ramos, who sat out the game due to food poisoning, as Deguara and Holyfield simply took over the shaded lane to lead the Long Lions to a 27-15 lead in the first quarter.
Despite Alab slowly getting their groove in the next two periods, the Long Lions maintained their hold of the lead, 71-64, entering the fourth.
Ray-Ray Parks, however, came alive at the start of the fourth, sparking a 13-0 run to put Alab up, 77-71.
The Long Lions responded with an 11-0 run of their own to reclaim the lead for good, 82-77, with 1:22 to play.
Ethan Alvano kept Alab in the game after recovering the ball after Deguara blocked Renaldo Balkman’s layup and drilled a triple that cut the lead down to two, 82-80, with 1:09 left.
Chan Siu Wing, however, found Deguara inside, and the latter scored the lay-in to stretch the Long Lions lead back to four, 84-80.
Their defense then forced Alab to a shotclock violation, and Lee Ki added two free throws to increase the lead to six, 86-80, with 28 seconds left.
Balkman still threatened for Alab by draining a long bomb that trimmed the lead down to three, 86-83, with 22 seconds left, but Marcus Elliott iced the game with two free throws in the next play.
Holyfield, who took over O’Darien Bassett as Eastern’s world import, had an impressive debut in the premier home-and-away professional basketball league of the Eastern Asian region, making 19 points, 20 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal.
Deguara had an even more humongous stat line, grabbing 31 rebounds and blocking eight shots on top of 18 points and three assists as Eastern moved up to fourth place at 12-9.
Parks put up 29 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one steal in total for the Philippines’ ABL representative, which saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end, although it remains on top at 13-3. (PNA)