Erratic Suntex rediscover winning form
INCONSISTENT Suntex bounced back to winning ways by beating league newcomers Regal 89-75 in a Hongkong Division A1 match at the MacPherson Stadium, Mongkok last night.
Fortunes have fluctuated wildly for Suntex this season. On their good days they have beaten champions Seapower in the league and former-champions Fukien in the President's Cup. But they also received a drubbing from the same Fukien in their last league outing despite leading at the interval.
Last night's win puts Suntex level with three other teams on eight points at the top of the eight-team table. But they trail Seasonal, Fukien and Seapower because those teams have played fewer games than Suntex who have a four-win two-losses record.
The top six teams at the end of regular season play advance to the play-offs. Suntex made a slow start last night but once they settled down and Eric Strothers found his scoring touch, Regal struggled to hold them back as they raced to a 42-34 half-timelead.
Regal showed plenty of early promise in springing to a 15-8 lead after only seven minutes, thanks to the sharp outside scoring by ex-Hongkong international Lau Yung, who netted three three-pointers.
Suntex, however, levelled at 19-19 through successive baskets by their three American imports - Bill Courtney, Strothers and Scott Patterson.
Chris Knight, another American import, then scored for Regal but Suntex shot ahead with three pointers by Chung Lun and Chan Chan-yiu. They never looked back, pulling away to a commanding eight-point advantage at the interval.
Suntex dominated the action after the restart, extending their lead to 19 points midway through the second period.
Suntex only let up the pressure two minutes from the buzzer when they had an unassailable 87-69 lead. As Suntex eased up Regal pulled back six points with two dunks from Knight and another by Gerald MacDonald but Courtney completed the 89-75 triumph for Suntex with a late basket.
Strothers top-scored with 32 points for Suntex.
Knight was Regal's leading scorer with 21 points.
In the curtain raiser to the double-header programme, Division A1 side Frankwell proved too strong for Division A campaigners Fire Services in a Senior Shield first-round match.
Frankwell, pre-season winners of the Goyu Cup in the Philippines and the Merlion Cup in Singapore, won 91-69 after leading 47-31 at half-time.