Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) The winning streak of the Taipei Fubon Braves was snapped Saturday in an upsetting lost to the visiting Hong Kong Eastern in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) in Taiwan's capital.
Before tip-off, Taipei, ranked second on the ABL standings, was on the hunt to extend its three-game winning streak after it stunned Thailand's Mono Vampire Basketball Club by a single point a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong, which was placed last on the standings, was looking for a chance to redeem itself after it lost to Taipei 89-102 the last time the two teams faced off in November.
However, at the final whistle Saturday, Taipei fell 78-105, after Hong Kong American import guard Brandis Raley-Ross led the scoreboard with 27 points made from downtown and inside the key at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
Making use of a short-lived home court advantage, Taipei held an initial comfortable lead of 30-20 at the end of the first quarter by finding gaps through the Hong Kong defense to make powerful drives and taking advantage of open back-door opportunities.
After a series of adjustments to their offense, Hong Kong found their mark and was able to gain the equalizer 42-42 with a 2-point lay-up by Eastern U.S. import center Brandon Jay Costner just under five minutes left until half time.
Taipei's defense started to fall apart when Hong Kong center Michael Holyfield, another U.S. import, dominated the boards to grab 17 rebounds and recorded the only double-double of the game with 13 points.
Hong Kong turned the tables in their favor with seven unanswered points, which included Holyfield's backboard-shaking alley-oop dunk, fed by teammate American import forward Steven Serge Marie Guinchard in the final few minutes of the first half.
Still feeling the fatigue from the victory a day earlier, Taipei stepped up their game in the third quarter to apply pressure on Hong Kong, but failed to catch up.
The Braves shot-maker, former NBA guard O.J. Mayo, scored a total of 23 points, but was unable to catch up with Hong Kong's hot shooting.
Taipei took a further drubbing in the fourth quarter as the team only carded 9 points compared to Hong Kong's 27 points.
Braves head coach Roger Hsu (許晉哲) said that Hong Kong proved to be the better team because they found their mark in and out of the key, in addition to grabbing big boards.
"Michael (Holyfield) would pick and roll to get low post, so our defenders would have to come in and help double team. However, when we did that, the shooters from the sides were just too accurate," he said.
"Once the ball passed back out of the key, we couldn't get back in time to make the defense," Hsu added.
With the result of Saturday''s game, Taipei stayed second in the league standings, while Hong Kong advanced to eighth place.
Taipei now holds a head-to-head record of 1-1 against Hong Kong.
The ABL 2019-2020 season began Nov. 16, 2019 with 10 teams from East Asia and Southeast Asia competing for the title. The regular season runs until March 29.