Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Saigon Heat suffered their third loss in a row on home turf, their worst result ever in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
The Heat, on Saturday, lost 65-72 to defending champions Westports Malaysia Dragons at the Canadian International School’s Arena, which saw a nearly full stadium with home supporters in HCM City.
The defeat has brought them to the edge of their plan’s bankruptcy, as they planned to champion the tournament in their sixth participation.
Previously, they lost to Singapore Slingers and the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions.
Coach Anthony Garbelotto spoke honestly to local players, but it seemed that they could not meet his demands, although they went ahead and led 9-5 for a moment.
However, the players were not in good shape and failed to maintain their form, providing opportunities for the Malaysian Giants, who finished the first set at 17-15.
It was even more difficult for the hosts in the second set. Their new centre, Herbert Hill, was closely guarded on the court and could not find space to find the Dragons’ basket. Meanwhile, the visitors ran quickly and extended the score to 42-28.
In the third set, only Lenny Daniel of the Heat could score, while almost all attacks by the hosts were blocked. Not only the attackers, however, but the defenders also met with problems, as they could not prevent the Dragons from scoring.
The score was 58-45 for the visiting side.
Captain Việt Arnold shined in the final set, while teammates Joshua Munzon and Nguyễn Tuấn Tú scored points, but not enough to help their team to level the result.
Daniel led the Heat with 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Munzon contributed 17 points, while Arnold scored 11 points and had seven turnovers.
Freddie Goldstein’s steady playing and increased scoring from Skylar Spencer and Marcus Melvin were key factors, as the reigning champions clinched their first win of the 2016-17 season.
Spencer, who finished with only seven points in the Dragons’ season opener, was efficient early on, scoring 10 in the first quarter alone, to set the tempo for his squad.
He finished with 18 points and 9-of-15 shooting and 20 rebounds. Melvin added a team-high 22 points to go with 14 rebounds and three assists, while Goldstein filled the stat sheets with 10 points, seven boards, four assists and five steals.
The Dragons will have their much-awaited home debut on January 17, 2017 when they host the Singapore Slingers. The Heat, who are in the next-to-bottom position, will have their fourth match on January 17 against last place Kaohsiung Truth of Taiwan. — VNS