The Saigon Heat are aiming to bounce back from an opening game loss, while the Kuala Lumpur Dragons are looking to surge upwards in the standings in ASEAN Basketball League action.
This ABL showdown heats up at the CIS Arena, Vietnam on January 5, at 7:00 PM GMT +7.
After suffering through a disastrous second half, the Heat found themselves on the wrong side of a beatdown against the Mono Vampire Basketball Club. Despite the great talent on the team, the Heat are still finding themselves and discovering their identity. Fortunately, they have a lot of time to figure that out.
The Heat did a solid job keeping up with Mono Vampire in the first half of their match. However, it all fell apart as their offense dried up in the second half. In fact, the team was scoreless for almost the first five minutes of the final period outscored by Mono Vampire 25-7 in the fourth quarter. That resulted in a 26 point loss, 90-64.
Much was expected from the two Chrises of the Heat: Chris Charles the defensive anchor, and Chris Dierker, the athletic forward that could dunk everything in sight. Unfortunately, the two struggled to make an impact in their first game. Charles was only able to manage 7 points and 8 rebounds, and Dierker had a quiet three points and three rebounds.
The Heat also saw two World Imports make their ABL debuts, to so-so results. Gary Forbes and Sam Thompson were brought in to fortify the middle and provide athleticism for the Heat, and they had totals of 13 and 14 points respectively. Can they elevate their performance further?
The Dragons, on the other hand, have been one of the early-season surprises in the ABL starting with a 2-1 record. Splendid performances by Will Artino, Amir Bell and Simeon Lepichev have been key to the team’s hot start. All three were instrumental in the Dragons’ win over the Macau Wolf Warriors.
The Dragons were locked into a tough match with the Macau Wolf Warriors for the entirety of their December matchup. But with Will Artino fouling out in the final period, it was Amir Bell and Simeon Lepichev that answered the call and helped the Dragons finish strong with a 90-83 victory.
The relentless Will Artino was a handful for the Macau Wolf Warriors, and his double-double performance of 26 points and 17 rebounds was the difference-maker in the Dragons’ big win.
The Dragons have been searching for an elite playmaker for many years, and it seems like they’ve found their guy in Amir Bell. The guard was spectacular for the Malaysia-based squad in their win, tallying 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists.