Akeem Scott was still wearing in his light gray home jersey when he stayed on the basketball court of the CIS Arena. The Saigon Heat’s hopeful season just ended last Saturday after San Miguel Alab Pilipinas got the better of them in the quarterfinals.
A handful of Vietnamese fans still wanted to get his autograph or take a photo of their beloved star. Some of his teammates already went straight to the showers, but Scott stayed, talked, and engaged with the home crowd.
It was a valiant effort for Scott and the Heat, but they were overpowered by Alab in two hard-fought games. Despite the heartbreaking defeat, Scott still had time to reflect on his very first ABL season with the Heat.
“First, I have to give God all the glory for this. It’s been an amazing journey,” Scott shared. “It hurts cause we’ve done things that this team has never done before – most wins, record with three-pointers.”
Indeed, with the arrival of Scott and fellow imports Maxie Esho and Mikey Williams, the Heat have reached new heights. Not to mention there were also the improved performance of Moses Morgan and the veteran presence of David Arnold.
As a team, the Heat’s 10-10 record is their best regular season finish in franchise history. They also shot lights out from beyond the arc, owning the record for most three-point shots made in a single season with 220. In one game, they threw one haymaker after the other for a league record 18 triples. The Heat were like flamethrowers and their cornerstone was Scott who scored a historic 498 points in a single season.
“That shows that we’re growing as a basketball country,” the fiery point guard assessed. “As much as we want to win a championship right now, we have to make the little steps. Just trying to figure out how to make this basketball culture right now. It’s hard to stay positive right now, but big picture is we’ve done what we’re supposed to do so far.”
In the two quarterfinal games against Alab, Scott averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals. It was herculean effort from the 6-foot-1 star, putting the team on his broad shoulders. The tenacity and aggressiveness never wavered for Scott even until Alab was moments away from eliminating them. In fact, since his arrival in Saigon, he has always played pedal-to-the-metal every single game.
“You’re not guaranteed you’re gonna live the next day – that’s how I play basketball,” he opened up. “You can go outside and get hit or something, God forbid. And if that happens, I’ll be going to heaven saying, ‘Damn, I should have played harder.’”
“Every time I get on the court, I play as hard as possible. These fans deserve it, they’re good people, they’re hardworking people. no matter how long I’m here, I’m always going to give them my heart ever game,” he went on.
In the meantime, Scott’s time with the Heat will come to a close. He will first spend time with his family after the grueling season before talking to his agent to look at his options.
“The fans are amazing. Probably some of the best fans I’ve seen around the world,” he beamed. “They’re so into it and I love them so much. I hope that I can play for them next season. I hope they enjoyed me because I really enjoyed them.”
Just as he has shown his never-ending determination and resolve throughout his first ABL season, he is looking at an opportunity to return and play for the Saigon Heat.