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Wellington Saints roll over Chinese Taipei in MVP Cup opener

JAMMING THIS. Ray Turner goes for one of his dunks against Chinese Taipei. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

JAMMING THIS. Ray Turner goes for one of his dunks against Chinese Taipei.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Wellington Saints from New Zealand barely broke a sweat in the opening game of the 2015 MVP Cup as they registered a dominant 108-80 victory over the Chinese-Taipei national basketball team on Friday, September 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

It was an all-around effort for the Saints, who had 5 guys score in double-figures as they won without starting guard Evan Devendorf.

The team was led by Ray Turner, who finished with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds. Brook Ruscoe also had a superb showing, registering 25 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists.

The Saints, who fell to Chinese Taipei in their Jones Cup contest last week, also received 18 points and 7 boards from starting center Bryan Davis and 14 points and 13 rebounds by Jameel Watkins.

Wellington playing coach Kevin Braswell struggled from the field as he shot just 3-of-9 for 8 points, but did dish out 11 dimes and grab 4 rebounds in the victory.

The team from New Zealand raced off to a 31-24 start after the first quarter, but saw their lead trimmed to 3, 45-42 entering the halftime break. 

But thanks to a 31-18 third period that was possible due to the strong play of Turner and Ruscoe, Wellington regained momentum of the game and didn’t look back the rest of the way.

Even Chinese Taipei was limited with Tseng Wen Ting, their long-haired veteran, unable to make the trip to the Philippines as he remedies an ailing knee.

The losing side was led by the 13 points and 6 boards of Cheng Liu. Naturalized player Quincy Davis III took just 6 shots and finished with 8 points and 6 boards.

The Saints will still be without Devendorf on Saturday, September 12, when they face Gilas-Pilipinas in the second day of the MVP Cup. The former Syracuse standout had to return to New Zealand on Friday to attend to an important family matter.

Chinese-Taipei, on the other hand, will have a chance to bounce back against the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters on Saturday. Talk ’N Text takes on Gilas on Friday evening.

Statistics mentioned above are courtesy of fibalivestats. – Rappler.com