Liaoning drubs SMB, 111-89

Terrence Romeo of San Miguel Beer (right) faces off against Lance Stephenson of the Liaoning Flying Leopards in their Terrific 12 semifinal game on 21 September 2019. (Marcus Tang)

MACAU – Liaoning Flying Leopards drubbed San Miguel Beer, 111-89, to advance to the finals of the East Asia Super League Terrific 12 invitational tournament Saturday night at the Tap Seac-Multi-Sport Pavilion.

The 2017 Chinese Basketball Association champion needed a strong finish in the second half to pull away from a tight game and relegated the Beermen to the battle for third place against the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.

Ex-National Basketball Association (NBA) veterans Lance Stephenson and center Salah Mejri were unstoppable in that second-quarter surge as the Flying Leopards finished the first half with a 23-4 assault to turn a 26-28 deficit into a 51-30 advantage at halftime.

It was all Liaoning the rest of the way as the Philippine Basketball Association team failed to stage a run to absorb their first loss in the tournament.

“All respect to them. They played good. They played hard. And they really challenged us,” said Stephenson, who finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.

The seven-foot-two Mejri added 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks while four more Chinese players hit at least nine points.

Terrence Romeo led the Beermen with 19 points while Denz Wells and Lester Prosper contributed 16 and 15 markers, respectively.

Wells, who averaged 36.5 points in the group stage, had a slow start and was hounded by foul trouble. He shot just 7-of-19 from the field.

The Flying Leopards will face the Seoul SK Knights in the finals. The Korean club edged Guangsha Lions, 77-76, on Jameel Warney’s game-winning layup in the closing seconds.