Mbala's Seoul falls prey to Speights' Guangzhou in Terrific 12 semis
MACAU – There will be no finals apperance for Ben Mbala and the Seoul Thunders in the Asia League Terrific 12.
Korea's Thunders crumbled down in the second half and bowed out to China's Guangzhou Long Lions, 74-88, in the Terrific 12 semfinals at the Studio City Event Center here on Saturday, September 22.
Mbala saw his 26-point, 12-rebound and 2-steal outing go to waste after Seoul failed to protect a double-digit lead against the inspired Guangzhou squad led by Kyle Fogg and former NBA champion Marreese Speights.
Fogg finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals as the Long Lions secured the last finals seat to set up a championship date with Japan's Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Guangzhou trailed by as much as 12 points in the first half, 31-43, before uncorking a 32-12 run briding the middle quarters to turn the tides and enter the final frame with a 63-55 advantage.
The Long Lions fended off all of the Thunders' comeback attempts in the fourth period and even saw their lead swell to as large as 17 points, 88-71.
Speights chipped in 14 points and 6 rebounds, Sun Mingyang added 14 points and 8 boards and Shirelijian Muxtar had 15 markers in the win.
Glenn Cosey chalked up 16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals to backstop Mbala while Lee Gwan Hee delivered 15 points and 3 boards for Seoul.
Earlier, the Golden Kings thwarted fellow Japanese team Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, 66-48, to punch their ticket to the finals.
Former NBA player Jeff Ayres paced Ryukyu with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks while fellow import Josh Scott had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The tournament is not over for the Thunders as they face the Diamond Dolphins in the battle-for-third clash at 5 pm on Sunday, September 23, at the same venue.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou squares up against Ryukyu in the finals at 7 pm. – Rappler.com