|Saigon Heat players win 93-88 over CLS Knights in the ABL on Sunday. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s Saigon Heat registered an important 93-88 victory over CLS Knights of Indonesia in their ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) match on Sunday.
The match was held at GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.
Despite the absence of Heritage Import player Moses Morgan owing to a leg injury, Heat played with power from the beginning as Stefan Nguyễn Tuấn Tú proved to be a perfect substitute.
Aware that CLS could be a dangerous team to deal with if they have a good start, Heat pounced on Knights early in the game as they took a 23-9 advantage after the first 10 minutes of action.
Heat continued to lead points in the second quarter, although Knights gradually narrowed the gap. They made it 30-42.
Encouraged by fans and the result in the second quarter, the hosts created more attacks, and at some points, they were closeto Heat, with only four points less in the third quarter.
However, captain Aleem Scott of Heat did not let Knights equalise the result. He scored 12 points. This, along with five points from Việt Arnold, helped Heat finish 64-55.
Heat kept Knights at bay for most part of the game but the home team, having realised that their playoff hopes were slowly dwindling, went for one big run in the final quarter.
Down by 16 points with 4 minutes 20 seconds remaining, Shane Edwards started a rally for CLS as they went on a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to seven points, making the score 86-79. After a basket from Scott, Sandy Kurniawan responded with a triple to take CLS to six points, with 1 minute 19 seconds remaining
But Maxie Esho provided Heat with the finishing touches they needed to wrap up the game. He scored five points in the final 50 seconds to lead his team to victory.
Esho rose to the challenge with another outstanding ball game with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Scott too had a solid all-round performance with 26 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. He was named the AirAsia Player of the Game.
Heat will next play fifth-ranked Singapore Slingers on February 25. — VNS