P. LEAGUE+ & T1 LEAGUE/Aquas hand Dwight Howard's Leopards 10th straight loss
Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) The defending champion Kaohsiung Aquas prolonged the misery of Dwight Howard's Taoyuan Leopards by dealing them their 10th consecutive loss on Sunday, the longest losing streak in the history of the T1 LEAGUE.
The Aquas topped the visiting Leopards 101-87 at Kaohsiung Arena by playing tight defense in the paint and limiting the ability of the eight-time NBA all-star Howard to maneuver.
Guarded in a rotation by Aquas centers John Bohannon and Mindaugas Kupsas with help from small forward Kevin Hu (胡瓏貿), Howard managed 17 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and one block in just under 27 minutes of playing time.
Despite the loss, it was Leopards guard Michael Efevberha who led all scorers with 33 points on 11-22 shooting from the floor, including 3-10 from beyond the arc.
Aquas head coach Brendan Joyce said after the game that he was worried that his players might be a little "shy" about going up against a player of Howard's status, but in the end they played him aggressively.
"Your biggest concern is that you don't want to put a player on a pedestal. You still have to treat him as a number, and I said that to the guys. We respect him, but we treated him as a number and another player," Joyce said.
One of the players who stood out was Bohannon, Joyce said, calling him "sensational" and comparing him to former NBA standout Dennis Rodman.
"He was like Dennis Rodman on the rebounds," Joyce said. "He stepped up big time, 16 rebounds and 14 points, and the other thing you can all see is he passes the ball really well."
"There was a lot to like about the game. We got contributions from everyone who stepped onto the court," said the Australian coach.
The Aquas jumped out to an early 24-15 advantage, paced by 11 points from shooting guard Chiu Tzu-hsuan (邱子軒) off the bench, but the Leopards rallied behind Howard and Efevberha to overtake the Aquas 39-38 with just under 3 minutes left in the first half.
The Aquas answered immediately with buckets from point guard Jason Brickman, shooting guard Yu Chun-an (余純安), and Bohannon to end the first half on top 46-40.
In the second half, the home team exploded out of the gate with 14 points in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to pull ahead 60-45, and it maintained the edge to take an 81-64 lead into the fourth quarter.
Despite the efforts of Efevberha and Howard, the Leopards could never get closer than 11 the rest of the game.
The Kaohsiung team is now 9-5, just one game back of the New Taipei CTBC DEA at the top of the six-team league standings, while the Leopards are eight games behind in last place with a 1-11 record.
GhostHawks edge HeroBears
Also, in the T1 LEAGUE on Sunday, the Tainan TSG GhostHawks topped the visiting Taipei-based TaiwanBeer HeroBears 105-102 at the Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science's gymnasium in Tainan.
HeroBears point guard Tsao Xun-xiang (曹薰襄) led all scorers with 24 points, while GhostHawks center Samuel Deguara led his team with 22 points, 22 rebounds, and one assist.
The GhostHawks and the HeroBears are tied for third in the standings with 8-7 and 7-6 records, respectively, 2 1/2 games behind the DEA.
Pilots capture 10th consecutive win
Meanwhile in the P. LEAGUE+, Taiwan's other professional basketball league, the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots won their 10th consecutive game after topping the Taichung-based Formosa Taishin Dreamers 93-76 in a home game at Taoyuan Arena.
The Pilots are now 11-3 and tied atop the six-team P. LEAGUE+ standings with the New Taipei Kings, who are 12-4. The Dreamers are in fifth with a 5-10 record.
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