The Taipei Fubon Braves made a successful ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) debut as they outlasted the Macau Black Bears on opening day, 95-91.
After a pre-game three-dimension court projection show that could rival those in the NBA, Fubon players appeared amped up as they took to the court to rousing applause from thousands of home fans in the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
The league newcomers then fed of the energy to open the match strong with a quick 10-0 run, but the Black Bears’ import tandem of Mikh McKinney and Kenny Manigault towed the Macau squad back to tie the game at 48-apiece by halftime.
Macau held a slim lead early in the final period, but the reigning Chinese Taipei champions were able to outscore them in the home stretch to close out the game with the victory.
Former Chinese Taipei national team forward Lin Chih-Chieh led his team to the win as the tallied 21 points, six assists, and five rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field.
Charles Garcia led the Braves in scoring with 23 points to go with 12 rebounds, while fellow import Sim Bhullar and local guard Tsai Wen-Cheng added 14 and 13 markers each to complement a balanced output for the Taiwanese squad.
Former NBA guard OJ Mayo struggled with his shot and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and seven dimes but shot only 26 percent from the floor for Fubon.
On the other hand, Manigault and McKinney combined for 54 for the Black Bears, while big man Brandon Walton-Edwards tallied 18 points and 20 boards. Jenning Leung was the only local player to finish in double-figures for Macau with 13.
The Braves return for the second of back-to-back weekend games on Sunday as they hosted the retooled Westports Malaysia Dragons at 16:00 (GMT+8).
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