|Saigon Heat's Phan Tran Man (left) and Justin Williams celebrate after scoring during their team match against Indonesia's Warriors on Saturday. The hosts won 72-56. - Photo saigonheat.com
HCM CITY (VNS) – The Saigon Heat opened their ASEAN Basketball league 2014 season with a bang, as they convincingly beat the Indonesia Warriors in their opening match in HCM City on Saturday.
The Vietnamese professional basketball team has had changes in their squad and chose a new stadium in District 7 as its home ground, after two years of playing at Tan Binh Indoor Stadium, as well as setting an ambitious target of reaching the four-team play-off stage this season.
Those changes seemed to signal an exciting and successful season for the American coach, Jason Rabedeaux, who has been working with the team from the beginning. He coached his team as they beat last year's runner up, the Indonesia Warriors, 72-56 in the opening match.
Watched by a capacity crowd of 2,000 at the Canadian International School, Saigon Heat led 16-13 after the first quarter, with an excellent performance by Frolian Baguion, who scored six points.
It was, however, Johnson of the Warriors who was the most effective player on the pitches in the first period of 10 minutes, as he scored 11 points for his team.
Saigon Heat continued to be a better team, again thanks to a lively performance from quick and skillful guard Frolian, who added another five points to bring his tally to 11 points after two periods.
The home team, which fielded the most import players on the pitch, displayed a solid defence to limit the opponent, who was not very accurate with their shots, to finish the second period at 33-26.
David and Dustin made the largest contribution in the third quarter, each scoring seven points to help the home side not only maintain their lead, but also extend the lead to 18 points at 53-35.
In the fourth and final period, Justin, one of two world imports on the home side, who had not played very impressively in the first three periods, proved his value with a strong performance and helped his team establish a commanding lead of 72-42.
With only a minute left and a win already ensured, Rabedeaux decided to bring on all local men, who allowed the Warriors to score 14 points before the final whistle. — VNS