DEFENDING champions Regal lost their Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Champions Cup title by the narrowest of margins when they were edged by Hanwei of China 71-70 in the final last night. Regal's American import John Spencer scored a field goal to put the SAR's side within a point of Hanwei with 50 seconds to go. However, Regal were unable to make up the deficit after as Spencer missed two free throws and Wayman Strickland failed to score with a last desperation attempt. Hanwei, coached by former Chinese international women's player Li Xin, are the first mainland team to win the tournament since Liaoning's triumph in 1990. Li, who helped China to a silver medal in the Atlanta Olympics two years ago, shared the Most Valuable Coach Award with American Felton Sealey of Bangkok Club. Li is the first female to win the award. American Michael Cumberland of Lebanese side Al Riadi won the Most Valuable Player Award, which had gone to Strickland last year. Lebanon finished third in the tournament after beating Hyundai Dynat of South Korea 87-77 in the third-place play-off. Regal were slow starting last night's game, allowing Hanwei to open up a lead of 14-5 after four minutes. The Hanwei players, including former NBA trialist Ma Jian, had the better of Regal in terms of height. To make things worse, Regal's three-point shooting let them down - making only 22 per cent of their attempts fromk behind the line. Regal played 1.75-metre tall guard Wu Kwok-fung, 21, hoping his his mobility and speed could create openings. They slowly narrowed the arrears to 34-36 at half-time. Regal kept up the pressure on Hanwei in the second-half but their cause suffered as five key players ran into foul trouble. Team manager Stanley Au Kai-kwong was disappointed by the defeat but was impressed by his team's effort. 'We did not open the game well because our players are relatively shorter and some of us were nervous playing against the mainland Chinese,' said Au. 'But I was quite satisfied with the later part of the game as we were able to impose a lot of pressure on Hanwei though we lacked a bit of luck. 'If we had tied the game and forced the overtime, we could have beaten them.' Strickland was the team's leading scorer with 29 points, including four three-pointers, plus six rebounds and six assists. He was followed by Spencer, who had 19 points and 16 rebounds. Three-point specialist Yung Kam-wah had another disappointing game with only two three-pointers, while Choi Fong-yue scored eight points, Wu had five plus three assists, and veteran Ng Chu-yip also had three points. Spencer complained about the refereeing, saying: 'The referee was horrible. He helped the Chinese team so much and gave them the game. 'Our players were being fouled a lot of times and the referee did not see them. 'Of course we did not play well overall in the game. We missed too many shots. 'We should have played better because I believe we were the better team though Hanwei were better than us in certain spots.' In the night's other game, Japan's Toshiba Red Thunders beat Malaysia's Petronas 91-70 in the fifth-place play-off.