Wholesale changes to their roster resulted in a much needed win for the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
With three new imports in tow, the Dragons snapped their six game losing streak at the hands of the Formosa Dreamers, winning in overtime 95-92 at the Changhua County Stadium, in Taiwan.
It was an impressive return to the ABL scene for World Import Chris Eversley, who previously towed the Dragons to the Finals in 2014. He finished with 38 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists to pace his squad. He made all the tough shots down the stretch against a determined Dreamers squad, aching to grab the victory.
Playing for the second time in as many days, the Dreamers looked eager to move on from the heartbreaking loss to Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team, as World Import Cameron Forte led the charge. A shot from Forte in the paint with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter gave the Dreamers a 22-19 advantage before a triple at the buzzer from Heritage Import Joshua Munzon tied the game after 10 minutes of action.
The Dragons would find success in the second quarter, racing to a 44-39 lead at the half. They piled it on in the third quarter via a 12-2 run, giving the team their biggest lead of the ballgame at 56-44 with 5:59 left in the quarter.
However instead of folding, the Dreamers kept fighting. They countered with a 10-2 run led by booming triples from Wu Sung Wei, as they trimmed the deficit to 58-54. Forte and Heritage Import Kenny Chien would inch Formosa even closer at the end of the third quarter, as they finished down 3, 65-62.
It was a tense affair in the fourth quarter, as both teams traded shots and the lead in the game. Dreamers’ World Import Ronnie Aguilar committed his fifth personal foul, forcing the Dreamers to have to play the remainder of the battle without their big man.
Eversley and Chen Yu Han traded key baskets inside the last two minutes, before a running floater from Wong Yi Hou with 48 seconds remaining gave the Dragons a 85-83 advantage. However Forte saved the day once again, as he isolated Eversley in the paint, tying the game once again with 39 seconds remaining. The Dragons were unable to get a shot to win the game, as Munzon was swallowed up by Formosa’s defense at the buzzer.
In the extra inning, the Dragons would finally create separation against their gutsy opponents, as Eversley scored 9 of his team’s 11 points. The biggest shot came with 10 seconds remaining, putting the Dragons up by 3, 95-92. A desperation triple from Chen at the buzzer caromed off, dealing Formosa another loss on their home floor.
Eversley had a rousing return for the Dragons, and new Heritage Import Jawhar Purdy contributed across the board with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Bryan Davis, replacing AJ West in the middle for the Dragons, had a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Forte’s incredible effort for the Dreamers went to waste, as he tallied 42 points, 25 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Dreamers. Chen was also impressive with 19 points, while Chien had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.
The Dragons stay in playoff contention with the victory, as they climb to 4-10 in the standings, trailing the Saigon Heat at 7th overall. The Dreamers absorbed their 14th straight defeat, and remain at 9th overall in the ABL standings.