Moses Morgan spent the better part of his ABL career helping the Saigon Heat reach new heights. But in a reversal of roles, he was responsible for pulling them down.
The Saigon Heat failed to debut with a win, losing 90-64 over Mono Vampire Basketball Club at the CIS Arena in ASEAN Basketball League action.
Morgan, a former member of the Heat for several seasons took it to his old team, dropping a team high 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was part of a big second half surge for Mono Vampire that broke the game wide open, despite the Heat hanging around for the entire game.
Two free throws from Heat World Import Gary Forbes at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter tied up the ball game, at 56-all. But Mono Vampire countered with a 9-1 run, which gave the Thai-based squad a 65-57 cushion heading into the final quarter.
And it was in the fourth quarter that the Heat’s offense unraveled. The first point of the Heat in the period came only at the 5:37 mark, which was via a free throw from Chris Dierk. But by then, Mono Vampire had already put together 13 unanswered points, which pushed their advantage to 20 points, 78-58.
The first field goal of the quarter was a basket from Tran Dang Kohoa, with 4:27 left in the game. However back to back baskets from Freddie Lish and Chitchai Ananti continued the onslaught, helping Mono Vampire cruise to the victory.
It was a disappointing loss for the Heat, as they are still trying to figure each other while Mono Vampire has had several games already to build their identity. This was evident in the Heat’s paltry assist numbers, as they only dished out 8 assists compared to 15 for their opponents. The Heat struggled from beyond the arc as well, shooting 5 of 26 from the three point line compared to 9 of 36 for Mono Vampire.
Six players scored in double figures for Mono Vampire. Ananti was relentless attacking the basket, finishing with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Ryan Watkins and Tyler Lamb tallied double-double performances. Watkins had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Lamb amassed 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Heat were led by World Import Sam Thompson, scoring 14 points on 5 of 15 shooting from the field. His fellow import Gary Forbes had 13 points and 7 assists in the losing cause.
Justin Young and Tam Dinh came off the bench for the Heat, and each delivered seven points. Chris Dierker struggled in his first game, finishing with only 3 points and five turnovers.
Mono Vampire remains on top of the ABL, with a 5-1 card. They will be back in action on January 7, facing off against the Macau Black Bears at the Venetian Macau.
The Heat will look to bounce back from their opening game loss as they battle the Kuala Lumpur Dragons on Sunday, January 5.