The Formosa Dreamers were determined to rally back, and defend homecourt, but one error cost them the entire game.
Behind a clutch steal from Murphy Burnatowski that led to the winning basket, the Saigon Heat escaped with a thrilling 74-72 win against the Dreamers at the Changhua County Stadium in Taiwan, pushing back a hard charging Formosa squad that almost forced the game into overtime.
A layup by Murphy Burnatowski with 4:52 left in the third quarter gave Saigon its biggest lead o the game at 12 points. They would remain ahead of the Dreamers by nine points heading into the fourth quarter, putting the Dreamers in a big hole.
The Heat would remain ahead by nine up via a layup from DeAngelo Hamilton, with 8:36 remaining. However the Dreamers made one last push via a 10-4 run, trimming the lead down to 3, 4:44 left.
The Heat countered with a booming triple from Burnatowski, plus a basket from Tran Dang Khoa restored a 8 point lead heading into the final two minutes of the game. But the Dreamers kept battling back, as Lee Hsueh Lin, Will Artino and Tevin Glass led a furious comeback to within one point.
The Dreamers would eventually tie the game at 72-all with 31 seconds left, as Kenny Chien split free throws. However disaster would strike for the Dreamers after a missed jumper from Trevon Hughes. The Heat sprung a trap in the backcourt that forced a turnover, allowing Burnatowksi to score via a reverse layup, plus a foul with only two seconds remaining. That would seal the game for the Heat, in one of the most thrilling finishes this season in the ABL.
Burnatowski’s heroics were part of a solid performance particularly on the defensive end with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks. He was integral to the Heat’s victory, in a low scoring affair with both teams shooting below 35% from the field.
Trevon Hughes chipped in for the Heat with a double-double performance of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals, while Hamilton tallied 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals in the Heat win.
The Dreamers were led by Glass’ double-double performance of 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists. Artino also notched a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Dreamers in the losing effort.
The Heat rise in the standings, climing to 11-8 in 4th place, while the Dreamers hold on to their spot in second place with a 10-6 card.