Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s Saigon Heat tasted their first loss this year after losing to Westports Malaysia Dragons 87-91 at the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
The game was held at MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, on January 17.
Before starting the game, the Heat were very confident and excited to gain their fourth win in a row. While they didn’t have enough luck and fitness to achieve their target, the Dragons won their second straight game in an impressive fashion. The Dragons matched the high scoring Heat on offense, making 15 triples compared to the Heat’s 14. They shot impressively from the field, finishing at 40 per cent clip, compared to the Heat at 35 per cent.
Although the Heat had to play on the away turf, they started well in the first minutes of the first quarter and took a lead of 10-3, thanks to Akeem Scott and David Arnold. However, the hosts fought back strongly with successful throws by Ting Chon Hong and Marcus Marshall. They then played aggressively to win the quarter 21-16.
In the second quarter, the Heat narrowed the gap to 25-27, thanks to Stefan Nguyễn, Scott and Moses Morgan. The Dragons capitalized on this by building a 10-point lead, 50-40.
The third quarter saw the return of Maxie Esho who scored 10 points in this period; alongside Scott, the Heat scored points continuously. However, they didn’t have enough physical strength to maintain their lead. When the period had only 10 seconds to end, the three-point shot of Marshall helped the Dragons lead 69-66.
The Heat made every effort and counter-attacks to the hosts in the last quarter but they couldn’t beat their rivals and accepted the loss of 87-91.
“We were able to stay disciplined and stay dedicated to the game plan,” Dragons’ head coach Chris Thomas said. “That’s a product of our depth, and a product of our willingness to sacrifice individual numbers for the greater good of the team. I think our overall depth tonight was the main factor, and having guys like AJ West, Marshall, Josh Munzon, all of our local players; my goodness everyone that stepped foot on the floor played well.”
The Heat will look to start a new winning streak as they take on Mono Vampire Basketball Club on January 21 at the CIS Arena. They fell to fourth place in the ABL standings.
The Dragons will look for three straight wins as they prepare to host their rivals the Singapore Slingers on January 21. They rank seventh in the standings. — VNS