Stellar Yung puts Fukien back on level terms in play-off

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 June, 2006, 12:00am

Fukien are back on level terms in the A1 Division play-off finals after beating Winling 68-57 in game two at the MacPherson Stadium last night.

Steered by captain Yung Kam-wah, who top-scored with 18 points, Fukien outclassed their opponents in every department to even the best-of-five series at one game each. Game three will be held on Saturday at the same venue.

Yung, who said before the game that Fukien were confident of a victory if they could improve their outside shooting, began with three three-pointers, giving his side a convincing 18-12 lead after the first quarter.

Towering centre Song Fong also played a part in the victory. Despite tallying just four points, he dominated the boards and his rebounding prowess was key to Fukien's success.

Having built a comfortable lead, Fukien sent in some reserves in the opening stages of the second period, allowing their veterans Yung and Song to rest. Winling, led by point guard Poon Chi-ho, launched some fierce attacks to pull level at 18-18.

And it was during this second quarter that Winling took the lead for the first and only time of the night when they went ahead 22-20. However, with Yung and Song back in action soon after, Fukien fought their way back.

Hong Kong internationals Choi Fong-yue and Lui Chor-wai, who had 28 points between them, also made significant contributions. Fukien ended the second quarter with a 32-27 lead.

The third period saw little change as Fukien continued to dominate. With new coach Cheung Tai-wing, who was hired by the team boss especially for the play-offs, urging them on from the sidelines, Fukien held a 15-point lead at 51-36 before a three-pointer from Poon narrowed the gap to 12 points. The third quarter ended with Fukien holding a 10-point advantage.

In the final 10 minutes, Winling, who won the opening game of the series by a mere three points, tried desperately to get back into contention, but found themselves falling even further behind.

In the earlier women's A1 Division play-off, Bank of China defeated Fukien 60-51 to clinch the title after winning all three of their games in the four-team competition.