|Akeem Scott of Saigon Heat wins MVP of the match which saw Saigon Heat beat Hong Kong Eastern 118-115 in the ABL on Sunday in HCM City. — Photo VBA|
HÀ NỘI — Saigon Heat beat Hong Kong Eastern 118-115 at their ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) match on home turf at the CIS Arena in HCM City on Sunday.
It was the second time the Vietnamese defeated the tournament’s leading team.
Hong Kong Eastern went ahead to open the score after Lee Ki’s accurate throw in the first quarter.
However, captain Akeem Scott pushed Heat to equal the situation between the two sides. The hosts came to lead with Michael Williams’ three-point throw twice. Heat closed the quarter at 29-26.
The second quarter was similar. Eastern strengthened their attacks, taking advantage of big players such as Christian Standhardinger, Ryan Moss and Marcus Elliot.
The reigning champions quickly caught up and levelled the score at 39-38.
Heat coach Kyle Julius used his time-out to discuss with players. The team finished the quarter at 49-49.
Elliot and Tyler Lamb continued to be Eastern’s key attackers with their throw from outside the circle. Their tactic worked effectively to make a score of 66-59 in the first few minutes of the third quarter.
On the hosts’ side, Moses Morgan and Williams shone with their consecutive successful finishes. It was 76-75 for Heat.
The two sides played an equal fourth quarter before Heat’s key players, Morgan and Maxie Esho, were sidelined. Their absence proved to be a gaping hole in Heat’s line up, and Eastern took advantage of it. They went ahead to lead 101-98, with only a minute remaining.
But Scott and Tô Quang Trung saved Heat with their strikes. It was 103-103, and the match was forced to be decided by a play-off.
Overcoming challenges, Heat maintained a gap of six points during the play-off, with Horace Nguyễn and Việt Arnold shining.
Heat struggled to resist Eastern’s strong attacks until the last few seconds before they won the game 118-115.
Scott won the Most Valuable Player with 38 points, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists.
Heat were placed sixth and narrowed their gap with Singapore Slingers, who ranked fifth.
Heat will next play seventh-ranked Chong Son Kung Fu of China on February 7. — VNS