The first dream for Formosa finally came true.
One of the three new teams in the ASEAN Basketball League finally scored its first victory as the Formosa Dreamers took down the debuting Saigon Heat, 80-75, Saturday night at the CIS Gym in Vietnam.
It was a different kind of homecoming for Lenny Daniel who was a huge part of the success of the Heat in the past seasons. Now wearing the black and white of Formosa, Daniel helped his crew come back from as much as 15 points down to steal the win in the fourth quarter.
He led Formosa with 22 points and 19 rebounds and put the game away as he made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to settle the final score. An emotional Daniel pumped his fist after making the front end of his free throws as he knew that was the final nail in the coffin for his former team in that game.
Saigon led by 7 points 71-64, with 7:05 remaining in the game after a split from the line from their high-scoring import Akeem Scott. However, the Dreamers sparked a three-point barrage that would turn the game around.
Cheng Chi Kuan started it off with a corner three. After getting the rebound on the other end of the floor, Cheng casually brought down the ball and pulled up for a three over Scott to make it a 1 point game, 71-70.
Scott converted on a putback to bring Saigon’s lead back up to 3 points but Tang Tian You converted on a straight-away three to knot the score at 73.
Formosa World Import Jaleel Cousins hit the go-ahead bucket and the Dreamers’ defense held strong for the rest of the contest to finally scoring their first victory after suffering defeats in their first two games.
The Heat were limited to only 4 points in the final 7 minutes of the game. When Scott fouled out with 3:52 left, all hopes of a victory in their debut were quashed as the Heat simply did not have enough firepower without him on the floor.
Yang backed up Daniel with 15 markers while Cousins and Chen Yu had added 13 each.
“When it’s your first game and you did not have any exhibition games, nay practices games, you really don’t know how things are going to go,” said Saigon head coach Kyle Julius. “For our first game together, I thought we showed some good moments and some bad moments and we could grow and work on those.”
“We lost and we gotta get better. Everyone else already started playing to we have to get into our rhythm. We had some silly mistakes, we missed a lot of free throws so a lot of it is on us,” added Scott.
“It’s a long season and this is just the first game. We have 10 days before our next game so we have to work on the things that we did bad and get better from there. I missed a lot of free throws (8-of-14) so it’s on me today. I’m not happy because we lost.”
Scott paced Saigon with 29 points while Travele Jones added 22 points and 15 rebounds. Saigon’s Heritage Imports Moses Morgan and David Arnold struggled from the field with a combined 15 points on 5 of 25 shooting from the field but they worked hard on the glass with 21 boards as a tandem.