Chong Son denies Alab an outright semis spot after away win over HK Eastern
Chong Son emerged as the top team at the end of the ABL regular season. Jerome Ascano

CHONG Son Kung Fu defeated reigning champion Hong Kong Eastern, 88-77, on Wednesday to clinch the No. 1 ranking heading to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs at the Southorn Stadium.

Anthony Tucker broke Matthew Wright's record for most three-pointers in a season while spearheading Chong Son’s comeback from 15 points down that enabled the Chinese side to post the best record of the regular season at 15-5 (win-loss).

Hong Kong Eastern slipped to a tie with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and Mono Vampire Basketball Club for second place at 14-6 but nevertheless secured the second outright semifinal berth for having the best tiebreak among the three teams.

Chong Son's win also relegated Alab to No.3 and a best-of-three quarterfinal against sixth-seed Saigon Heat while No. 4 Mono Vampire will face the Singapore Slingers in their own best-of-three series.

A loss by Chong Son would've given Alab a guaranteed place in the semis.

Tucker finished with 29 points on 6-of-11 shooting for threes for Chong Son, which will get homecourt advantage until the finals. Tucker finished the regular season with 73 threes, breaking the 71 made by former Westports Malaysia Dragons cager and current Phoenix player Wright in 2015.

Tucker hit back-to-back triplesto highlight an 11-0 start to the fourth quarter that enabled Kung Fu to grab a 69-54 lead.

That was quite a turnaround for a team that trailed, 22-7, at the end of the first quarter.

Justin Howard had 24 points and 22 rebounds while Fil-Americans Caelan Tiongson and Mikhael McKinney added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Chong Son.

Tyler Lamb had 30 points, while Marcus Elliott added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Hong Kong Eastern, which got 12 points and 14 rebounds from Fil-German Christian Standhardinger.

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