The Saigon Heat continue to set the league ablaze, earning their fourth consecutive victory and tenth overall as they came away with a 98-83 decision over the struggling Mono Vampire Basketball Club, Wednesday at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
Kyle Barone paced the Heat with a strong outing of 28 points, including six 3-pointers, to go along with 17 rebounds. It was also the eye-popping performance of Chris Dierker that helped the Saigon squad earn solo second place in the standings. The 6-foot-5 forward put up 18 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. He was also a threat on the defensive end as exhibited by his three steals and two blocks. It was a total team effort for the visitors with a total of six players scoring in double-figures.
Mono Vampire, who came into the ball game nursing a two-game skid, were poised to get the upset after a strong second quarter. They uncorked 35 points right before halftime as they even lead by nine points, 50-41, with a minute and a half remaining after Malcolm White netted a layup.
But the endgame belonged to the Heat.
With the Heat owning a precarious 68-66 lead at the start of the fourth, they opened the payoff period with an 11-0 blast to gain control. After Trevon Hughes converted on his drive, the score read 79-66 in favor of the Heat with six and a half minutes left in the game. Mono tried to cut down the lead but every rally was quenched by timely executions from Saigon. A 3-pointer by Michael Singletary made it into an eight-point game under four minutes remaining. The Heat countered with eight straight points, highlighted by back-to-back dunks from Dierker to put the game away.
White scored 22 points for Mono while Singletary submitted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Four-year veteran Moses Morgan added 10 points and reached an ABL milestone with 1,000 career points. Unfortunately for the Thailand team, they’ve lost their last three games.
The Heat head to Singapore to face the Slingers in attempt to notch their fifth straight win this Sunday. For the 2-11 Mono Vampire, they take a week off then play the Wolf Warriors on January 30.