Basketball: Malaysia Dragons, Bangkok City win ABL playoff openers
- Updated: October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014: The top-seeded Westports Malaysia Dragons opened their AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League Playoffs campaign with an impressive 108-90 win over fourth-seeded Saigon Heat in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Ariel Vanguardia, the Dragons’ head coach said, praised his side’s highest score of the season, yet was already focused on Sunday’s second leg at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
“I’m happy, but we still have to win one more game,” said Vanguardia, whose side beat Saigon in all four of their regular-season matches.
Both Chris Eversley and Avery Scharer had big games at MABA Stadium. Eversley finished the game with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Scharer finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists and four steals.
Justin Knox, who added 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Dragons, said: “It’s the Playoffs and we have to raise our intensity. I keep reminding my team to stay focused and play together for the whole 40 minutes.”
Second seeds Hi-Tech Bangkok City also made the most of home advantage as they beat third-seeded JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers 90-76 at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Bangkok, where Jerick Canada scored a season-best 23 points.
Steven Thomas finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Patrick Cabahug had 15 points. Chris Charles added 10 points and 14 rebounds for Bangkok, who never trailed.
The home team opened the game with 13 straight points and held the Slingers scoreless for the first five minutes of the game. Bangkok’s lead ballooned to 24-8 at the end of the first quarter and even they led by as much as 26 at 40-14. The Slingers woke up in the third quarter as they clawed back to 42-58, but Bangkok then regained the momentum and led 70-48 heading into the final quarter.
Although a late rally for the Slingers brought them within nine points at 82-73, Bangkok responded with eight straight points to seal the win. Justin Howard led the Slingers with 27 points and 17 rebounds and Russel Low finished with 12 points. The teams will next face off on Friday at the OCBC Arena in the Singapore Sports Hub.
ASEAN Basketball League Playoffs, First Round (October 29, 2014)
Westports Malaysia Dragons 108-90 Saigon Heat, MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur
Westports Malaysia Dragons: Eversley – 27, Scharer – 25, Knox – 24, Tautuaa – 13, Shee Fai – 11, Tong – 5, Ban Sin – 3.
Saigon Heat: Williams – 26, Arnold – 25, Thompson – 22, Baguion – 9, Avenido – 8.
Hi-Tech Bangkok City 90-76 JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers, Thai-Japanese Stadium, Bangkok
Hi-Tech Bangkok City: Canada – 23, Thomas – 18, Cabahug – 15, Charles – 10, Dasom – 9, Suttin – 6, Piroon – 3, Ghogar – 2, Lertlaaokul – 2, Lertmalaiporn – 2.
JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers: Howard – 27, Low – 12, Lowhorn – 11, Vergara – 11, Wu – 7, Liew – 5, Han Bin – 2, Wei Long – 1.
Source: Asean Basketball League (www.aseanbasketballleague.com); Editing by SportAsia