2013 ASEAN Basketball League Roundup: February 17-19, 2013

The Malaysia Dragons bounced back into the win column after beating the Beermen this past weekend to stay within striking distance of the top teams in the 2013 ABL.

New recruit and former Gilas Pilipinas cadet pool player Justin Melton poured in 19 points on 7-of-11 FG shooting to go along with 3 assists and 2 steals to help lead the Dragons in only their third win this season. Sammy Monroe, Malaysia’s new import, also debuted with aplomb, registering 32 points, 8 steals, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in a great all-around performance. Gavin Edwards added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while dead-shot Patrick Cabahug tossed in 10 markers.

On the other end of the floor, Gabe Freeman and Chris Banchero combined for 42 points to lead the Beermen, who dropped their third game in six matches.

In the weekend’s other game, Singapore was led by Rashad Jones-Jennings’s 24 points and 23 rebounds as the Slingers upended the Singapore Slingers. Local player Wei Long Wong added 20 points on the strength of 4 triples and 4 assists, while Kyle Jeffers pumped in 16 markers and grabbed 17 boards.

Rashad Jones-Jennings put up a monster game to
lead the Slingers to a big win.

This was a bit of an upset as the Slingers won just their second game of the season, while Saigon dropped to 3 wins and 2 losses. Pint-sized Jai Reyes spearheaded the Heat’s losing charge with 22 points, while David Palmer finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Game Recaps:
The Westports Malaysia Dragons head coach Ariel Vanguardia would have to be very pleased with his two new players, Sammy Monroe, Jr. and Justin Melton. Monroe and Melton showed off their skills this afternoon as they inspired the Dragons to snap a four-game skid by with a 82-76 defeat of the San Miguel Beermen at MABA Stadium, Malaysia.

The main story line before the game was Brian Williams first return to MABA Stadium, however it was Monroe and Melton who stole the show as they both put up an impressive debut. Monroe filled it up with 32 points and also included 6 three pointers, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 8 steals. Melton also showed his class with 19 points. Gavin Edwards added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

After an excellent debut, Monroe hopes that he can help the team win more games. "I came here to work hard and get this team more wins," said Monroe after the game. The Dragons were without their captain Guga Batumalai, who was not fit to play in today’s game.

The pace of the game was very high from the tip-off. The Beermen attacked early and took an 18-11 lead on a fadeaway shot from Gabe Freeman and a three-point shot from Chris Banchero  with 1:04 left in the first quarter.

The Dragons started to gain momentum in the second quarter however. Melton made a three-point shot and a mid-range jumper which gave the Dragons a 27-24 lead with 5:55 left before halftime. Then, Monroe hit a three to beat the shotclock which added up the Dragons lead to 30-24. But Freeman made sure that his team remained within striking distance as he made 4 points before halftime to cut his team's deficit 39-38.

The third quarter was action-packed and the pace of the game was very entertaining for the fans. A 6-0 run for the Beermen gave them back the lead. A lay-up from Williams and Leo Avenido gave the Beermen a 44-39 lead with 7:41 left in the third quarter. But the Beermen were not able to keep their lead as the Dragons took over the lead at 59-56 at the end of the third quarter on a three-pointer from Monroe.

There was a scary moment for the Beermen early in the fourth quarter when Williams bumped knees with a Dragons player and he was in pain as he needed to be carried off the court. Fortunately Williams was able to return to the game after a few minutes.

Monroe's dunk and Edwards' tip-in gave the Dragons a 79-70 lead with 1:08 left. The Beermen tried to rally after a lay-up from Banchero and a dunk from Freeman but it was a little too late.

In his return to MABA, Williams finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Freeman led the Beermen with 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Banchero added 20 points. With this loss, the Beermen are now at .500 with a 3 wins and 3 losses record.

Gavin Edwards and Gabe Freeman compete
for the ball.

Justin Melton (L) shows some pesky defense against fellow
Fil-American Chris Banchero.

It was a special game this afternoon as the JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers welcomed the Saigon Heat wearing special edition pink jerseys in a bid to raise awareness for the Singapore Cancer Society.

"We have actually worked with a few charity organisations in Singapore over the past six years but cancer is a disease that has touched several members of the Slingers organisation and their families, so cancer awareness has a special place in our hearts." Michael Johnson, General Manager of the Slingers said in an interview before the game. “Sport has always had the ability to bring people together, especially team sports. No matter race, religion or cultures, sport has shown an innate ability to bring communities together.”
Rashad Jones-Jennings topped the leaderboard in this game with an impressive double-double of 24 points and 23 rebounds. Wong Wei Long also put in a solid performance and ended with 20 points which included 5 three-pointers. Kyle Jeffers also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds.

Although the Heat’s Dior Lowhorn travelled to support his team at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, he has been sidelined from the game with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Ben Wisniewski who started off the bench. Wisniewski had a decent debut as he finished with 11 points.

Jai Reyes was solid again for the Heat as he finished with 22 points. David Palmer grabbed his own double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds as Larry Tieu rounded up the Heat’s top three with 12 points.

A slow start to the game saw the Slingers take an early lead before Jai Reyes kick started the Heat’s efforts and scored their first 5 points to pull in just behind the hosts at 5 to 6. For the Slingers, Kyle Jeffers was perfect in the first quarter as he converted all of his attempts from both the field and the free throw line. The teams kept the game close and were deadlocked at 16 all going into the second quarter.

Wong had a good shooting game this afternoon and he gave his team a boost after sinking a three at the start of the second quarter. The Slingers continued to extend their lead after a Jeffers steal was converted by Desmond Oh to put them up 23 to 18. The Heat were cold in the first two minutes of this period as the Slingers went on a 15-5 run which gave them their first double digit lead at 31 to 21 at the mid-way point.

The Heat struggled under the rim in the first half as the Slingers outrebounded them 28 to 18. To make matters worse, Reyes left the court due to a dislocated finger. Fortunately, he was able to step back into the game after receiving treatment. At the end of the quarter, a solid performance from Wong who led all scoring in the first half with 13 points saw the Slingers head into the halftime break 44 to 32.

Wong continued his shooting into the second half as he opened up scoring yet again with another huge three before intercepting a pass by Palmer which was converted by Jones-Jennings. The Heat continued to struggle in this period and found themselves down 19 points at the mid-way point. Karl Dehesa then picked up fifth foul of the game late in the quarter and was sent to the bench. At the end of the third, the Slingers maintained their lead 64 to 49 as the teams go into the final ten minutes of the game.
The Slingers continued to drive a wedge between the teams and earned themselves a 68 to 51 lead within the first two minutes of play. Despite the deficit, the Heat continued to slowly chip into the Slingers lead and Larry Tieu managed to put in an important three pointer that brought the Slingers down to just 10 points with five minutes remaining in the game. Reyes then put in a  three to put the Heat back to within 4 with two minutes on the clock.

The Slingers were determined not to let this one go however and put the game to bed at 80 to 69 to bring them back to .500 and up to third on the ABL standings with a record of 3 wins and 3 losses.

These two teams will play the reverse fixture of this game in just five days’ time when the JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers head over to Tan Binh Stadium on Friday the 22nd of February. This will also be the ABL Friday Basketball game for this week and will be live on Fox Sports Asia regionally. Please check your local listings for details.

Don Dulay and the Slingers won their
second game of the season.

Phillip Morrison tries to slash
through the Singaporean D.

Source: Game recaps were compressed and compiled from AseanBasketballLeague.com.

Images: Images are from AseanBasketballLeague.com and the KL Dragons’ Facebook page. 
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