Less than a month ago, the defending champions Hong Kong Eastern hosted the Chong Son Kung Fu and sent them back home carrying the burden of a 12-point loss.
Players from both teams generally performed to their usual standard, but it was Eastern’s world import Ryan Moss who stood out with another solid double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds,along with five big blocks to help the Hong Kong side defend their home floor before both teams went on their Chinese New Year breaks. Coach Edu Torres would most certainly hope Moss can continue to deliver with the same efficiency when they play on Kung Fu’s home court in China.
Hong Kong national team member Lee Ki also made his presence felt, particularly during the fourth quarter where he drilled in two shots from deep. He should continue to be the X-factor during this second meeting.
Aside from the usual low production from their bench, Chong Son might also find weakness in terms of stamina, since they will play Eastern just 48 hours after facing up against the Mono Vampire Basketball Club. This could be another long-term challenge for the short-handed Kung Fu.
Stamina issues may have little effect on the younger players, but would most certainly be an issue with Kung Fu import Justin Howard, especially since the veteran big man will be tasked to guard both Moss and heritage import Christian Standhardinger if frontcourt partner Caelan Tiongson falls into foul trouble.
Key Individual Match-Up(s)
The Battle of Best Back-court Duo
The combo of world import MVP Marcus Elliott and heritage import MVP Tyler Lamb has proven to be more than enough to win Eastern a championship, where either one is capable of scoring and facilitating the team at any given time. During the previous meeting, Lamb was having a hard time finding his shot, especially from the perimeter line, but Elliott carried the team through the stretch as he flirted with another triple-double during their last game.
Since his arrival to the Chinese side, Kung Fu’s heritage import Mikh McKinney has been doing an incredible job at both ends of the floor, relieving the workload for his backcourt partner Anthony Tucker. Both guards were doing a fine job at Southorn Stadium three weeks ago, but should look to inject more firepower and steadiness to their team for the rematch.
It would be another great head-to-head battle between Tucker and Elliott, who are both an all-around guards that can do pretty much everything on the court. McKinney and Lamb are also expected to guard each other this time around, and their exceptional scoring ability from shooting to penetrating would be what their respective teams need.
Caelan Tiongson VS Christian Standhardinger
Standhardinger did incredibly well in their last match-up, always running into the right position at the right time, grabbing rebounds and scoring easy buckets. Tiongson was tasked to slow down Eastern’s big man, but his aggressive defense made him earned his second personal foul early of the first quarter, and that affected the Kung Fu forward’s game afterwards.
If Tiongson can lock down his Filipino-German counterpart from doing damage at the painted area, Kung Fu should have a higher chance of taking the victory in front of their home crowd.