The Westports Malaysia Dragons weren’t going to lose back-to-back games. Not coming off a loss. Not at home. And not against the Singapore Slingers.
The Dragons won 84-79 over the Slingers Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.
The Dragons lost on Friday of the first game of ABL’s inaugural Straits Cup – a short two-game battle between the two proud countries.
On Friday, the Slingers took home the first game in Singapore with a score of 88-85, with a ton of help from their import Justin Howard who scored 45 points.
This time around, the Dragons made sure that Howard didn’t beat them again.
“I’ve never had a player from an opposing team score 45 points on me before, not even in peewee league basketball,” Dragons import Calvin Godfrey said after the game. “I was really offended by him getting 45.”
Howard was limited to 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Howard did have help from fellow import Xavier Alexander who scored 26 points, but also had five turnovers.
Westports Head Coach Arnel Vanguardia asked his team to improve their defense, especially on the Slingers imports.
“I told them that Howard shouldn’t have a 45-point game again so we gave shots to the other guys,” Vanguardia explained. “Instead of those easy duck-ins to Howard, we gambled a little bit on their outside shooting.”
The Slingers still shot a decent 45 percent from the floor, but they turned the ball over 17 times. Singapore also let Godfrey score a game-high 34 points to go along with his 12 rebounds, and four blocks.
Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright was aggressive all throughout the ball-game, scoring 16 points on 20 shots. “I just wanted to win because if we lost, we would have shaved our heads. I just want to win in any way possible,” Wright said with a chuckle.
The Dragons were so determined not to lose again to the Slingers that they made a team pact to shave their heads if they lost. “If we’re gonna lose at home, we have to shave our heads,” Vanguardia said laughing together with his players.
Coach Vanguardia went on by saying, “We were just lucky today. We were playing at home. We were playing with a nice crowd, they really egged us on.”
The Dragons won the Straits Cup since they won by five points in Sunday’s game compared to the Dragons’ three point victory last Friday.