Photo From ABL Website
Vietnam – The Saigon Heat scored a gutsy 78-73 win over the Mono Vampire Basketball Club, Saturday night at the CIS Arena in Saigon. It was a sweet win for the Heat as their home crowd finally tasted their first win of the season in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) after two straight setbacks.
Led by Lenny Daniel who had game highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds, the Heat came back from an early double-digit deficit as they outscored Mono Vampire 22-9 in a third quarter storm and held on for their first win.
With 44 seconds left in the game, Arnold scored a split from the free throw line to give Saigon a 70-66 lead. However, Surot Sunthonsiri quickly answered with a layup on the other end to cut Mono Vampire’s deficit to just two points.
Mono Vampire could have had the opportunity to tie the ball game or win it with a three on the other end if they just completed one stop but they chose to foul Arnold again. The guard calmly sank both free throws.
Saigon then got a stop on the other end which led to a break away two points for Moses Morgan and a six-point advantage for their side, 74-68.
However, the visitors refused to quit as Kannut Samerjai swished a three-point shot for his only field goal of the game and even got the foul to complete a rare four-point play.
Thankfully for the fans in Saigon, Arnold was steady from the free throw line to give the Heat a well-deserved win.
Arnold had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in the game while Morgan and Creekmore combined for 23 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals.
McClaim led Mono Vampire with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Quincy Okolie had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 huge blocks while Natakarn Muangboon added 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists in their losing effort.
“We made it really difficult for us. We played horribly in the first half. I’m disappointed with how we played and with how the game was officiated but a win is a win,” said Saigon Heat head coach Anthony Garbelotto.
“It’s great to get that first win. We we right there in a couple of games but we could not execute late. We gutted this one out which is what hew had to do,” added Creekmore. “We’re still a new team. We’ve been only practicing for two weeks. We have to improve defensively and offensively and cut down on dumb mistakes,”
Next up for the Heat is a battle against defending champions Hi-Tech Bangkok City in Thailand on November 19. On the other hand, Mono Vampire will continue their road trip in Kuala Lumpur as they take on the Westports Malaysia Dragons on November 22.