The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins have booked the last ticket en route to the Asia League’s The Terrific 12 semifinals, as they downed Zhejiang Guangsha Lions, 79-71, Thursday at the Studio City Events Center in Macau.
The Dolphins swept Group A as they finished the group stages with a 2-0 record. The Japanese ball club will face the best team of Group C, the Ryukyu Golden Kings, in the penultimate phase on Saturday, September 20.
Former PBA import Markeith Cummings led Nagoya with 25 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.
It wasn’t just the American reinforcement who did everything, though, as Cummings received ample support from his fellow Dolphins. Craig Brackins contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Shuto Ando made 12 markers.
The Dolphins actually lost hold of a 13-point lead early, but they were able to fend off the Lions in the end. As Zhejiang knocked within distance, 67-74, Nagoya scored five straight to take a 79-67 lead with 1:30 left, which was all enough.
Li Jinglong led the Lions with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Import Ioannis Bouroursis had 16 and 10.
The other semifinal bracket will see the Seoul Samsung Thunders go head-to-head with the Guangzhou Long Lions in a rematch of the Summer Super 8 Finals last July also in Macau, which the Thunders won, 78-73.
But unlike in the Summer Super 8, both teams will parade reinforcements this time around. Seoul have former two-time UAAP MVP Ben Mbala and Moon Tae Young, while Guangzhou have an NBA veteran in Marreese Speights.
The semis will be played in a knockout format.
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