Currently in the second and third spots in the team standings, the Saigon Heat and Westports Malaysia Dragons both risk their respective winning streaks as they face off a the CIS Arena.
With many teams jockeying for position in the middle of the standings, it’s an important battle between these two long-time ABL participants as they are out to gain the respect of the rest of the field. Saigon and Westports Malaysia have benefitted from the new rules on imports this season as they have complemented their local talent with outstanding athletes from all over the world.
Saigon scored an impressive victory in their last game against Hong Kong Eastern. In that win, the Heat relied on their punishing defense as they forced a lot of turnovers against their East Asian foes, which they turned into points on the other side. The Heat also shot better from the three-point range with 13 makes compared to only nine for the visitors.
Westports Malaysia was also victorious in their last match as they overcame the challenge of Mono Vampire. The Dragons used brute force to take home that victory as they dominated the interior battle both in rebounds and scoring. This was the third straight victory for Westports Malaysia after picking up victories against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and the Wolf Warriors beforehand.
The return of high-scoring import Trevon Hughes has been huge for the Heat as he is the catalyst for their offense. He had another impressive output against Hong Kong Eastern as he shows no signs of the injury that sidelined him late last year.
What’s more impressive for Saigon in their last win was that they also got a lot of help from a couple of locals in Tran Dang Khoa and Chris Dierker. The two combined for 22 points while also helping out in other aspects of the game.
For the Dragons, a local has also stepped up as of late, which has really helped in their winning streak. Loh Shee Fai has scored in double digits in their three wins, which lessened the load on their imports.
The key matchup for this game undoubtedly will feature their big men in Kyle Barone and Winston Shepard. Whoever wins this head-to-head battle will have a great chance of scoring the win as they are both so important to their squads.