|Saigon Heat vs Formosa Dreamers at the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) at Changhua Stadium, Chinese Taipei, on January 6. — Photo ABL|
HÀ NỘI — Saigon Heat defeated Formosa Dreamers 99-85 at the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) at Changhua Stadium, Chinese Taipei, on January 6.
To prepare for the game, the Heat added two imports, including Maxie Esho and Mike Williams. They proved their skills and helped the Heat win.
Esho replaced world import Travele Jones, who averaged 19 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in three games with the Heat. Esho flanked Akeem Scott as the world imports of the Heat.
The 26-year old Williams, a 188cm guard from Cal State Fullerton, joined the Heat after stints in the NBA G-League with the Canton Charge. In his last season with the Charge, Williams averaged 3.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2 assists in 14.4 minutes of action.
From the first few minutes of the game, the Heat quickly dominated the match. Although Lenny Daniel of the Dreamers tried to narrow the gap, they still lost to the Heat 19-28.
In the second period, the Dreamers fought back strongly. With the efforts of Sung Wei, the gap was only six points. However, with the outstanding performances of Esho, Scott and Moses Morgan, the Heat still took the lead with a score of 54-43.
In the next quarter, Esho of the Heat continued playing well when he scored 10 points, but the Dreamers weren’t about to give up. Rookie Chukwunike Okosa scored nine points for his team to maintain their hope of leading.
However, Williams’ three-point shot in the last seconds of the quarter weakened the chances of the Dreamers to narrow the gap. The score was 79-62 in favour of the Heat.
In the last period, the Heat played slower to defend their score and preserve the physical strength of their players. However, they still scored 20 points more to fix the game at 99-85.
In this game, Morgan of the Heat won the MVP award with 27 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.
Rookie Esho scored 27 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, while recruit Williams scored 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.
This was the second matchup of the season between the Heat and the Dreamers, and their first one of the New Year. The first matchup featured a crazy finish, as the Dreamers made a thrilling fourth quarter comeback to win against the Heat, 80-75.
The Heat will next face defending champions Hong Kong Eastern on the away turf on January 9. — VNS