HONG Kong Eastern spoiled Ivan Johnson’s best game in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) as the host pulled off a come-from-behind 99-96 win over winless Tanduay Alab Pilipinas on Wednesday night.
Thai-American Tyler Lamb spearheaded Hong Kong’s fourth win in as many outings, scoring 32 points including crucial baskets in the final three minutes at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai.
Fil-German Christian Standhardinger sparked the hosts' fightback with three fourth-quarter three-pointers.
Alab got a team-high 32 points from Johnson but wasted an 11-point lead in the second half, losing its poise in the final four minutes.
Alab, which also lost to Hong Kong at home, 92-89, last November 19. remained winless at 0-3 heading to its final game of the year against Formosa Dreamers in Taiwan.
A commotion occurred after the game. Although TV cameras were unable to catch the entire incident, the temperamental Johnson was seen being pacified by Alab teammates on their way to the dugout.
Lamb scored a lay-up to cap off a 9-0 run that enabled Hong Kong to wrest control, 94-88, with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter.
Alab refused to wilt as Reggie Okosa hit a triple to cut the deficit to two. Lee Ki was unable to ice the game as he split his two free throws but Josh Urbiztondo was unable to make a wide-open three on the final possession of the match.
Lamb’s heroics saved a sloppy Hong Kong squad that appeared to be on the verge of bowing to Alab.
Standhardinger had 25 points and 12 rebounds while Marcus Elliott had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. But the two had seven turnovers each.
From a 28-28 deadlock, Alab went on a 16-3 run capped by a Johnson lay-up to take a 44-33 lead. But Hong Kong responded with a 10-2 blast to close the first half down by only 3, 46-43.
Back-to-back baskets by Okosa opened a 60-50 Alab lead, only for Hong Kong to cut the gap again to two, 66-64, entering the final canto.
Okosa had 25 points, 13 rebounds, and four steals, while Urbiztondo added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals for the visitors.
Ray Parks had a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists.
Hong Kong Eastern 99 — Lamb 32, Standhardinger 25, Elliott 20, K. Lee 12, Moss 6, C. Tang 2, A. Xu 2, T. Lau 0.
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas 96 — Johnson 32, Okosa 25, Urbiztondo 14, Parks 11, Celiz 6, Sumalinog 3, Hontiveros 3, Domingo 2, Javelona 0.
Quarters: 20-23, 43-46, 64-66, 99-96.