Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Saigon Heat and defending champions Westports Malaysia Dragons are seeking their first win at the ASEAN Basketball League when they face-off today at the HCM City’s Canadian International School’s Arena.
The Heat lost both its previous matches on home turf while the Dragons suffered one on an away court.
The upcoming match is expected to be an exciting affair between two clubs who are equally hungry to enjoy the feeling of victory.
The Heat’s Herbert Hill, who filled in for the injured Christien Charles, carries the team’s hopes after his remarkable performance in the last match although it was not enough for a win.
In his debut last Saturday Hill scored 29 points and 10 rebounds against Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions. The Heat was able to provide the unbeaten Long Lions a good fight in the first half, although they eventually lost their grip towards the end.
Coach Anthony Garbelotto expected a win against the Dragons so his squad would have a big reason to enjoy the coming holiday break.
“That is a must-win to go into the Christmas break and give us momentum,” he said, referring to the Heat’s advantage of weekly games while the Dragons have not played in three weeks.
In statistics, the Dragons hold a 17-3 all-time head-to-head record against the Heat. And in their latest match last season, the Heat’s defeat to the Dragons cost them a berth in the final match.
With the presence of the new foreigner Hill, together with his veteran teammates, who have competed in the regional league for five seasons, this is certainly is a good opportunity for the Heat to close the gap.
The Heat got results from Lenny Daniel (23 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks), Joshua Munzon (11 points), and Stefan Nguyen (seven assists) in the loss, although local favourite David Arnold (seven points, three field goals) should step up and be more efficient from the field.
The Dragons, on the other hand, are coming off a 22-day break. They were embarrassed by the Slingers, their fellow 2015-16 finalists, in the season opener, losing 62-80.
Their best player is Freddie Goldstein who has scored 22 points in the last game. Marcus Melvin had 15 points and Skylar Spencer chipped in with seven points and 11 rebounds.
It is also the second match in this tournament for new coach Christopher Thomas who previously worked in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Basketball Association in the United States, the National Basketball League in Australia and New Zealand, and the national team of Slovenia.
He replaces ABL Coach of the 2014-2015 Season Ariel Vanguardia who moved on to coach the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the Philippines. — VNS