Saigon Heat vs CLS Knights Indonesia in the second match of the playoff series on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy of Saigon Heat
HCM City — Saigon Heat beat CLS Knights Indonesia 86 – 81 in the second game of their first round playoff series of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) on Wednesday.
The victory at the CIS Arena in HCM City was the Heat’s first ever ABL playoff win.
Entering the game down 1-0 in the three-game series after suffering an 84-59 defeat to the Knights in Indonesia on March 30, the home side knew they had to start well to avoid elimination.
The Heat quickly jumped out to a 9-2 lead thanks to strong play from Corey Cilia and Kyle Barone, but the Knights fought back to narrow the gap to 32-22 at the end of the first quarter, led by the effective Douglas Herring, Darryl Watkins and Wei Long Wong.
Fans support the Heat at the CIS Arena on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy of Saigon Heat
In the second period, Wong performed outstandingly in the last seconds to give the away side a 42-38 advantage at the break.
Coming out of the locker room, the Heat then adjusted their tactics and ended the third stanza with a slim 63-61 lead.
However the Knights dominated the early part of the fourth quarter, and with a mere two minutes left they led 81-76.
With the Vietnamese team staring down the barrel of elimination, Barone stepped up and poured in seven points, including a shot clock-beating three points to secure a historic 86-81 triumph.
The two teams will square off at the Knights’ home court at GOR Kertajaya Surabaya on April 7, with the winner advancing to the next round. — VNS