The Westports Malaysia Dragons and the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers joined the San Miguel Beermen as early winners in the 2013 season of the ABL.
As usual, the imports had a field day dominating the competition. David Palmer and Dior Lowhorn paired up for 57 points and 30 rebounds in Saigons first home outing of the season. It was all for naught, though, as the Dragons own imports, Cedric Bozeman and Gavin Edwards, combined for 39 points and 27 rebounds to lead the visiting Malaysian squad to its first W.
On Sunday, the Slingers own imports, Rashad Jones-Jennings and Kyle Jeffers, held their own against the Slammers reinforcements, Justin Howard and Michael Earl. The main difference here was the support from the locals. Singaporean natives Wong Wei Long, Mitchell Folkoff, and Desmond Oh all chipped in as the Slingers joined the Dragons and the Beermen atop the table with 1-0 slates.
Game Recaps: WESTPORTS MALAYSIA DRAGONS over SAIGON HEAT, 80-70 The Westports Malaysia Dragons kept their cool in the fourth quarter as they held off the Saigon Heat 80-70 in their first regular season game. Cedric Bozeman filled up the stats sheets with 25 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals for the Dragons, who overcame a phenomenal performance from Heat big man David Palmer.
Palmer, a 6'9'' center, showed off his range as he knocked down 8 three-pointers on his way to a monster game with 34 points and 18 rebounds. Dior Lowhorn added 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who finished with 28% FG shooting.
The Heat's ASEAN imports trio Phillip Morrison, Karl Dehesa and Jai Reyes missed 18 of their 21 shots combined.
Unexpectedly, Dragons' head coach Ariel Vanguardia did not start his stars Guga Batumalai and Moala Tautuaa. However, the Dragons did not show any rustiness in the first quarter as they built up a big lead after making a 15-0 run.
The Heat fought back in the second half and Palmers back-to-back to three point shots pulled the Heat within one point at only 1:49 left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Dragons answered the Heat's run immediately and stretched their lead to 59-53 at the end of the period.
It was a battle in the fourth quarter as the Heat continued to try and defend their homecourt, but it seemed like every time the Heat found a way to get closer, the Dragons found an answer. Lowhorn converted 4 free throws in a row to cut the Heat's deficit to 64-68 with 5:38 left, but Guga, Cabahug, and Bozeman scored 9 points to push the lead back to 77-66, which eventually sealed the win for the Dragons.
Gavin Edwards contributed 14 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks while Guga added 11 points off the bench. The Dragons also received a valuable contribution from Ooi Ban Sin, who finished with 9 points.
JOBSTREET.COM SINGAPORE SLINGERS over CHANG THAILAND SLAMMERS, 56-50 The JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers started their ABL campaign with a 56-50 win at home against 2010-2011 Champions, the Chang Thailand Slammers, in front of a supportive home crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The Slingers new import, Rashad Jones-Jennings, managed a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds before he was taken out on a stretcher because of a cramp late in the fourth quarter. Kyle Jeffers and Wong Wei Long contributed 10 points apiece.
Justin Howard put in a double-double for the Slammers with 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Slammers also had a good contribution from their other import, Michael Earl, who scored 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams were cold from the field in the first quarter, shooting under 25%. The Slingers, however, were able to hold a 2-point lead going into the second period 10-8.
The Slingers played a good defensive game in the second quarter, pressuring the passing lanes well. They put in an 11-2 run and gained a 12-point lead midway through the period at 26-14 on a three point shot by Desmond Oh. Woeful shooting from the Slammers also helped the Slingers maintain their lead, and they went into the halftime break up, 35-23.
The Slammers answered with a big third period and capped it with a run to pull within just three points of the Slingers with less than a minute to go on a basket from Froilan Baguion. A woeful third period for the Slingers was salvaged by a Mitchell Folkoff 3-pointer at the buzzer to maintain a 43-37 Singapore lead.
Folkoff also opened up the scoring in the final period only to have the Slammers answer with back-to-back baskets. A fast break close to the midway point ended with a decisive dunk by Jeffers that increased the Slingers lead back to 8 points.
With two minutes left, the Slingers received a scare when Jennings came down awkwardly, clutching his leg. He did not return, though he indicated it was only a hamstring cramp following the contest.
Down by 4 points with 6 seconds left, the Slammers made a critical mistake by not boxing out Wei Long, who missed his free throw. The Slammers were forced to put him on the line again as he calmly hit both free throws to ice the game.
Even though the Slammers lost, head coach Joe Bryant was very pleased with the efforts from his team.
"I think they were a little nervous, but I'm very proud of all my players," said Bryant after the game.
Things get no easier for Thailand, who will play two home games this week: Wednesday against the Saigon Heat and Friday against the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
Source: Game recaps were compressed and compiled from AseanBasketballLeague.com.
Blatche Andray 211-F/C-86 Xinjiang FT Jayson Castro William 180-PG-86 Talk N Text Gabe Norwood 196-G/F-85 Rain or Shine June Mar Fajardo 210-C-89 San Miguel Beermen Japeth Aguilar 206-C-85 Barangay Ginebra Ranidel deOcampo 197-F-81 Talk N Text Terrence Bill Romeo 180-PG-92&... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul. The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition. Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expe... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul.
The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition.
Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expected to hear his name in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft, returned to Turkey and scored 5 points. Andray Blatche had 23 points for the losing side and Jayson Williams added 15 points.
ITALY over PHILIPPINES, 106-70 Italy got an easy win over Philippines in the first day of the preparation tournament in Bologna. The final score was 106-70 for the hosts and it was flattering for the guests who were trailing 62-15 before the half time.
The first 20 minutes of action ended with a 41 points advantage for Italy (64-23) which got 20 points by Danilo Gallinari in 15 minutes of action, 14 points by Pietro Aradori who came from the bench and 11 by Marco Bellineli.
Philippines was outplayed in every possible way and Andray Blatche with 21 points was as usual the only brightspot for them.
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory. Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its... [read more]
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory.
Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its tip-off on July 15.
Asian imports will also be featured in this conference led by the returning Michel Madanly (194-G-81) for the Texters. Phoenix had tapped the services of 6-foot-3 Korean Lee Kwan Hee to bolster its guard-forward rotation.
Here are the complete lineup of reinforcements for all contending teams:
Aris Ignacio is from the Philippines and has always been a big fan of Philippine basketball. Aris' follows the Philippine Basketball Association since the late 80's and has learned the history and personalities of the PBA. He also has interest with other basketball tournaments in the Philippines and beyond most specifically college basketball (UAAP, NCAA), the Asian Basketball League (ABL), FIBA Asia and World Cup tournaments. Follow Aris Ignacio on Twitter at aris_ignacio.
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