A vintage performance from Chris Charles gave Saigon its first win in the 10th season of the ASEAN Basketball League as the Heat secured a 79-73 victory over the Singapore Slingers Wednesday night at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
Charles, a seasoned veteran in the ABL, turned back the clock and went off for 25 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Sam Thompson was also vital for the Heat, delivering an all-around game of 22 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
Singapore was in the driver’s seat midway through the fourth quarter after Leon Kwek fired six straight points to take a 66-64 advantage. Just when the momentum seemed to favor the home team, the Heat unloaded a 10-0 run to take an eight-point lead, 74-64, capped off by a layup from Dang Tran.
Marcus Elliott stopped the bleeding for Singapore with a 3-pointer but was countered by Gary Forbes’ own triple. Elliott had one more bullet in the chamber as he fired another shot from downtown to make it a five-point game with a minute and a half remaining. Unfortunately for the Slingers, that was their last gasp as they would score only one more point for the rest of the way. Charles then iced the contest at the free throw line with 16 seconds left.
Forbes finished with 11 points and eight rebounds but still had trouble with his shot, settling for a 4-for-14 shooting clip. Chris Dierker chipped in with 10 points and six boards.
Elliott led the way for the Slingers with 20 points and 16 rebounds while Kwek tallied 15 points, spiked by two triples. Singapore, however, lacked production from its two other World Imports. Anthony McClain put up a quiet 11 points that overshadowed his 13 rebounds and five blocks while Xavier Alexander was 3-for-12 from the field to end up with only nine points. Last season’s MVP pulled down nine rebounds and dished out four assists but committed eight turnovers.
The Heat are now in the win column sporting a 1-2 record while the Slingers have lost their last three games for a 1-4 standing.
Both teams will be back in action on Sunday as the Heat take on the Mono Vampire Basketball Club while the Slingers host the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.