It will be Japan versus China, as the Ryukyu Golden Kings and the Guangzhou Long Lions will vie for the Asia League’s The Terrific 12 title after dispatching their opponents in the semis, Saturday at the Studio City Event Center in Macau.
The war for the ultimate prize will be on Sunday at 9:00 PM, after the battle for third place at 7:00 PM.
The Golden Kings, who swept the group stages with a 2-0 card, booked the first ticket en route to the championship match by picking up an impressive 66-48 victory over fellow Japanese ball club Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.
The game was never in question right from the get-go, when Ryukyu jumped out of the gates and opened the match with an overwhelming 19-5 start – those five points were Nagoya’s only output in the opening frame.
Ryukyu led Nagoya by as much as 19 points, 62-43, after Jeff Ayres’ three-pointer with 3:24 left in the game.
Ayres, an NBA champion in 2014, topscored for the Golden Kings with 16 points alongside nine rebounds. Fellow reinforcement Josh Scott registered a double-double with 15 markers and 13 boards, with three blocks.
Former PBA import Markeith Cummings was the lone double-digit scorer for the Diamond Dolphins with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Finals picture was completed when the Long Lions managed to claw their way back from a double-digit deficit early to take down South Korean ball club Seoul Samsung Thunders by a huge margin, 88-74.
Down by 10 in the second chapter, Guangzhou fought back furiously in the second half. They opened the third canto with a 15-5 scoring blitz – ended by Guo Kai’s lay-up – to take a 52-48 advantage with 5:13 on the clock.
Seoul then found it hard to storm back into the match, while Guangzhou never looked back the moment they got the upper hand. The Long Lions would go on to lead by as high as 17, 88-71, with 1:24 left in the game.
Kyle Fogg led Guangzhou with 27 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. 2015 NBA champion Marresse Speights supplied 14 points and six rebounds, and local Sun Minyang chimed in 14 markers as well alongside eight caroms.
Former De La Salle star and former two-time UAA Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala set the pace for the Thunders with 26 points and 12 rebounds.