The Saigon Heat aim to defend home court as they face the visiting Hong Kong Eastern this Sunday at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Heat currently share a hold of third place in the standings alongside Singapore Slingers and Formosa Dreamers at 7-4. They’ve been terrific at home, earning five losses in seven games. Their last win was a 101-82 demolition job against Mono Vampire last Sunday.
Trevon Hughes was back to his usual self as he tallied 23 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists against the struggling Thailand squad. More than the production their World Imports, the Heat got a significant boost from Chris Dierker and Tanh Sang Dinh. Dierker was coming off a 4-point outing in his last game but responded with 18 big points versus Mono. A plus to his game is his rebounding and hustle. Dinh was equally superb with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The Heat primarily score with their World Imports but if they can get significant contributions from guys like Dierker and Dinh, they will be very difficult to beat.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong is raring to bounce back after losing to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas last Friday. Eastern’s four-game winning streak was snapped by the defending champions.
Big man Samuel Deguara was slapped with three early fouls which allowed Alab big man PJ Ramos to have a huge scoring night. Hong Kong’s defensive anchor played only 21 minutes and mustered 14 points and nine rebounds in the loss. Deguara’s presence in the middle will be a decisive factor when Hong Kong takes on Saigon.
In terms of the matchup at the backcourt, it will be a shootout between Hughes and Hong Kong’s O’Darrien Bassett. Hughes’ hamstring injury early in the season now seems like a thing in the past as the spitfire guard is back being aggressive for his squad. For Eastern, Bassett has looked more and more comfortable with his new team and was one of the primary reasons for their four-game winning streak. Bassett and Hughes are versatile playmakers and will have the basketball on their hands for extended periods. Hughes is the Heat’s primarily ball handler while Bassett has the luxury of tag teaming with Marcus Elliott.
The Saigon Heat and Hong Kong Eastern are neck and neck in the team standings. Will the Heat earn another home win or will Eastern bounce back?