For a brief moment in the 2nd quarter, the visiting Saigon Heat had visions of a huge upset against their opponents, Hi-Tech Bangkok City. They had seized control of the game and were taking it to the the home team in Bangkok.
However Hi-Tech Bangkok, as they’ve done over and over again thus far this season, made sure that there would be no fairytale ending.
Behind the combined might of Freddie Goldstein and former ASEAN Basketball League MVP Chris Charles, Hi-Tech Bangkok City notched their fourth win of the season to stay unbeaten, blasting the Saigon Heat 88-71.
Chris Charles top scored for Hi-Tech Bangkok, finishing with 20 points 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Lenny Daniel led the way for Saigon Heat, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
In the first half this game seemed to be up for grabs, as Saigon was standing toe to toe with Hi-Tech Bangkok. The Vietnam-based team even seized the lead momentarily in the 2nd quarter behind a Moses Morgan triple. Saigon was running at all opportunities and getting into their offensive sets early, taking advantage of their speed and the slower bigs of Hi-Tech Bangkok. But Hi-Tech would not trail for long, as they adjusted and took the lead entering the half, 45-38.
In the 3rd quarter, the defending champs began to flex their muscle inside. With Chris Charles and Steven Thomas dominating inside as well as the slashing of Freddie Goldstein, Hi-Tech slowed down the game and took advantage of their size and experience. William Creekmore and Lenny Daniel did their best to anchor Saigon, but it wasn’t enough, as the Thai-based squad more than doubled their lead entering the 4th quarter, 65-50.
Things began to unravel further for Saigon in the 4th, as Hi-Tech’s lead ballooned to up to 23 points. After a basket by Sukhdave Ghogar, he bumped into Saigon’s Creekmore, which led to him being whistled for a flagrant foul. Trouble didn’t end there for Saigon, as their Head Coach Tony Garboletto was whistled for a technical for complaining to referees. After getting the technical, Garboletto proceeded to exit the playing court, despite not being called for a second technical foul.
Without their leader and a deficit to overcome, the Heat simply didn’t have enough to pull out a victory over the defending champs. Hi-Tech also got a lot of contributions in the final quarter from their locals, as Nakorn Jainasuk fired three triples to help counter the zone defense that Saigon set.
“We did a good job defensively,” Chris Charles said. “Guys were rotating, it was just a team effort. everybody played their part today. The locals got a chance to come in, and get some points which was great, especially being at home.”
Hi-Tech moves up to a 4-0 slate and remains number one in the ABL, while Saigon falls to 1-3 and fifth overall.