Leaders Seasonal upset as controversy rages
DEFENDING champions Seapower threw the Hongkong Division A1 title chase wide open after beating leaders Seasonal 111-99 in a controversial match at the MacPherson Stadium last night.
The game was held up for more than 10 minutes late in the second period when the scorekeeper adjudged that Seapower's Greg Butler had committed five fouls, which would have sidelined the towering forward.
Seapower, however, disputed the decision claiming that Butler had made only four fouls. The scorekeeper admitted his error after a 12-minute stoppage and Butler was able to complete the game.
Seasonal manager Ng See-yuen said the scorekeeper should never have altered his record and his indecision had probably cost them the match.
''The scorekeeper should know what he is doing and should never have wavered under protest,'' said Ng, whose team still lead the table and are strongly fancied to win the title.
''It's been a bad day for us because I'm confident we would have won if Mark Meredith hadn't had 'flu for the past couple of days.'' Meredith, who is noted for his sharp outside shooting, played but the illness obviously hurt his game as he scored only 14 points. He scored only three three-pointers from 13 attempts for a relatively poor 23 per cent strike rate.
Meanwhile Seapower, who were fourth in the regular season and saw their title hopes virtually slip into oblivion following their defeat by Frankwell last Thursday, have been boosted by a new American signing in Glenroy Ferguson.
They had deregistered Robert Alston to make way for 23-year-old Ferguson, who was drafted by the Houston Rockets last year and played in pre-season games before he left to play in Miami.
Ferguson quickly made his mark with two three-pointers in the opening 30 seconds of the match as Seapower sounded a warning that an upset was on the cards when Mike Shepard added another score to make it 8-0 in only one minute.
Seasonal hit back with Dave Willard and Ng Chu-yip hitting three-pointers and Cheung Kwok-leung also scoring to level the score, only to see Seapower pull away again to a 32-20 lead midway through the 20-minute half.
Seapower extended their advantage to 50-33 by the 17th minute but Chad Tucker led a late Seasonal revival with two three-pointers, and Ng netted in the dying second to put the half-time score at 54-45.
Seapower opened up a 20-point lead 10 minutes into the second half and were 90-76 ahead when the match was interrupted by the Butler controversy four minutes later.
Seasonal staged a late rally and narrowed the deficit to 94-87 but they never got any closer as Seapower went on to win 111-99, with Ferguson scoring 33 points for them.
Scoring honours for the match, however, went to Seasonal's Tucker with 43 points, including nine three-pointers.
Disappointing Fukien opened their winning account with a come-from-behind victory over Regal, winning 90-88 with James Jones scoring the winner only two seconds from the buzzer.