MACAU – Close, but no cigar.
Philippine bets iECO Green Warriors ended up winless in the Asia League Terrific 12 after a heartbreaking 103-107 loss to China’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers in Group C at the Studio City Event Center here on Thursday, September 20.
Although vastly improved compared to its 75-103 blowout defeat to Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings two nights ago, iECO failed to protect a late lead as Darius Adams towed Xinjiang with a near-triple-double outing.
Adams pumped in 45 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to pace the Flying Tigers missing the services of former NBA star Al Jefferson, who was sidelined after the team was eliminated by Ryukyu on Wednesday.
Trailing by as much as 15 points, 56-71, the Green Warriors stormed their way back into the game behind import Tiras Wade and Gab Banal and held a 101-97 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
However, Wang Zirui drilled in a triple to spark an 8-0 spurt that gave Xinjiang a 105-101 advantage with less than a minute to play.
iECO’s Sam Logwood made it a one-possession game by securing his freebies on the next possession but Abudushalamu Abudurixeti stuck the dagger through the Filipinos’ hopes with a putback with 12.7 ticks left.
“The game was really good and intense. It was the little mistakes that caused us the game,” said iECO coach Ariel Vanguardia, referring to his wards 23-of-39 clip from the foul line.
“If we made thsoe key things and focus on that, we could’ve gotten the win.”
Abudushalamu, a member of the Chinese national team, backstopped Adams with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Wang chipped in 14 points and 4 boards.
Wade, who came in at short notice to replace the injured Richard Howell, chalked up 24 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals for the Green Warriors while Logwood churned out 21 points and 9 boards.
Banal and Joshua Munzon added 16 points apiece for iECO, which finished Group C at the bottom with a 0-2 card.
Xinjiang 107 – Adams 45, Abudushalamu 19, Wang 14, Chou 9, Makam 9, Fan 6, Liu 4, Zeng 1, Jiang 0.
iECO 103 – Wade 24, Logwood 21, Banal 16, Munzon 16, Scharer 8, Salem 8, Cruz 6, Sena 2, Reyes 2, Dennison 0, Porter 0, Toth 0.
Quarters: 27-27, 61-54, 87-78, 107-103.
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