There are no more undefeated teams in the 2017-2018 ABL Season.
Fresh from their resounding victory over the defending champions Hong Kong Eastern, Saigon Heat took down another giant in Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club, squeaking out a 96-93 victory on Saturday at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Heat have now won three straight games, none more critical than their last two outings wherein they took down the two top teams in the standings.
Maxie Esho provided the heroics for the home crowd as he scored 13 of his game-high 35 points in the final frame. His speed, length, and perimeter shooting were all in full display in the end game. The versatile big man also added 12 rebounds and three steals.
“It was one of the toughest, gutsiest performance from our guys,” Heat head coach Kyle Julius said after the pulsating victory. “I thought we had a bad first half. We made some good adjustments in the second half.”
The Heat started the fourth period on a 12-2 run courtesy of a two-man game between Esho and Michael Williams. The two were connecting on the offensive end, leaving Chong Son scrambling on defense.
“I feel like our team can beat anybody. We’re a family. We’re a brotherhood. As long we have that brotherhood, nobody can come between that,” Williams said confidently. The Filipino-American ended up with 24 points and 7 assists.
An Akeem Scott layup made it a four-point game with over a minute left in the game. But Chong Son, refusing to go down without a fight, would make one last push to keep their record unscathed.
Mikh McKinney knocked down a jumper and that was followed by a cold-blooded three-pointer from Anthony Tucker, swinging the lead back to Kung Fu, 93-92, with 21 seconds remaining.
However, it was the Heat that would have the last laugh. With time dwindling down, they went to the veteran Moses Morgan and he converted on a tough shot underneath the rim. Scott then sealed the game with an inbound steal and a layup.
Four Chong Son players ended up with at least 20 points in a losing effort. Caelan Tiongson led the way with 23 points and 7 rebounds.
The Heat shot an amazing 52 percent from the field, including 11 triples. They look to continue their winning ways when they face the Westports Malaysia Dragons on Wednesday.
“It was an unbelievable fight. I’m really proud of them,” Julius beamed.