FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Strong interior attack.
With the missing services of Ronnie Aguilar, the Kung Fu combination of Justin Howard and Caelan Tiongson was simply too much for the visiting team’s paint. In fact, the rebounding comparison between both teams will shock you, where the home-side grabbed 52 rebounds in comparison to the Dreamers’ 37. Justin Howard contributed 20 boards, while also logging 21 points against much smaller Taiwanese locals. On the other hand, Caelan had a rough night, only able to connect on 4-of-14 shots (28 percent), but continued to act on his intangibles the whole game.
Fear the masked-man.
As one of the usual starters for the Dreamers, “Masked-man” Chen Yu Han certainly has a lot to prove in his first ABL season, but he was finally able to show his worth and potential during this away game. In most of his early games, he settled for outside shots, but against the Kung Fu, he decided to play with more of his well-known tempo with drives to the basket during almost every possession with the intention to create trouble in the opposition’s paint. He was the only player who scored in double-digits (19 points, 72% FT) aside from Erron Maxey, while also finishing with two boards and two dimes.
The old man can still hoop.
It shocked the entire league when the Dreamers announced the signing of 39-year old veteran Erron Maxey to replace Lenny Daniel, with some doubts arising whether he was the right choice. Well, those who watched the game might agree that Maxey can still do a lot of damage even at this stage in his career. He is definitely not fast or strong enough to sprint on every possession, but the import is smart and experienced enough to know and get into his sweet spots to drill buckets. He would finish his ABL debut with 34 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. However, several Taiwanese local reports suggest that he is just a temporary replacement for just this one game, so fans may not be able to see him in action soon, at least not in a Dreamers uniform.
McKinney steps in to fill the triple-double vacancy.
When Anthony Tucker was ejected midway through the second half, the home team did not panic, knowing they still had Mikh McKinney as a fill-in floor general for the remainder of the game. As usual, McKinney had another stellar inside game, making 8-of-14 shots within the perimeter, and even got rewarded on multiple occasions for “and-1” baskets. His on-court presence gave the Kung Fu the advantage of having an extra body towards grabbing defensive rebounds and pushing the tempo with every possession. Do expect more triple-double performances from this young man, who just notched his first in the ABL, with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 dimes.
Kung Fu still need more from locals, despite improvements.
Even though the home team’s bench contributed 20 points and four boards as a combined unit, the team will need more consistency and reliable scoring options in the long term. Guo Kai was their best answer during the early part of the season, but the missing of his contributions has affected the Kung Fu more than we initially thought. Not only is the team missing a reliable local scorer, but also his height and length on the defensive end, which has increased the workload of Caelan Tiongson directly. There will be nights like last game, where locals have to step up and take on the challenge of hitting open shots, otherwise, the team will suffer from tough losses down the stretch.