2013 ASEAN Basketball League Roundup: April 3-7, 2013

Things continued to heat up in the 2013 ABL with the “facelift” of the Thailand Slammers. The Slammers dropped their original sponsor, Chang Beer, in favor of new corporate backer, Sports Rev. The big Q is, as the race for the semifinals gets even tighter, will it even matter?

Well so far, it seems the new-look Slammers have indeed played better. They beat the team right ahead of them in the Playoff race, the Westports Malaysia Dragons, last Wednesday before dominating the Saigon Heat this past weekend. with these twin wins, the Slammers have pulled ahead of the Slingers for fourth place and are just 2 games behind the Dragons, who are locked up at third.

League-leaders Indonesia and San Miguel also won this past week, further cementing their holds on the first and second seeds respectively. Jerick Cañada came alive as the Indons beat Saigon, while the Beermen were led by Chris Banchero and Leo Avenido in their conquest of the Slingers.

Asi Taulava and the Beermen won big over
the Singapore Slingers.

Game Recaps:
The Indonesia Warriors played without Chris Daniels and Steven Thomas in the last 4:36 of the game but managed to top the Saigon Heat 83-74 for their fourth consecutive victory.

Jerick Canada was unstoppable for the Warriors and he led the Warriors with 21 points and 7 assists. Mario Wuysang and Dodo Sitepu added 13 points each for the Warriors who are now on top of the ABL ladder board with 11 wins and 3 losses.

Dior Lowhorn and Jai Reyes started the game with a quick 9 points to help the Heat gain a 9-2 lead. After a great start, the Heat had to lose Larry Tieu after fighting for a loose ball with Steven Thomas. Tieu landed akwardly on his back and had to be carried out on a stretcher. With Tieu out, the Heat were left with only 8 players. Lowhorn and David Palmer had 8 points each to help the Heat with the 24-19 lead after one quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, the Warriors made a 14-2 run capped off by baskets from Steven Thomas and Jerick Canada which gave the Warriors a 43-29 lead with 4:25 left before halftime.

The Heat orchestrated a comeback early in the fourth quarter. Down 66-56 at the start of the final quarter, Lowhorn went to work right away and scored five quick points to cut the Heat’s deficit to 66-61 with 8:59 left. However, the Warriors responded immediately with a quick 6 points that stretched their lead back to 11 points.

Things got interesting in the last 4 minutes of the game as the Warriors had to play without Thomas and Daniels who fouled out of the game. A Jai Reyes’ free throw got the Heat within 5 points with 2 minutes left. But Wuysang denied the Heat comeback by sinking a floater and two free throws.
In this loss, Lowhorn led the Heat with 27 points while Palmer posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Jai Reyes chipped in with 16 points for the Heat who now have a record of 3 wins and 10 losses.

Jai Reyes tries to challenge the defense of
Steven Thomas.

Former UAAP standouts Oping Sumalinog
and Jerick Cañada before tip-off.

John Smith has been stepping up for
the Indonesia Warriors.

The Chang Thailand Slammers reclaimed fourth position on the ABL standings as Christien Charles and Wutipong Dasom spearheaded the Slammers charge over the Westports Malaysia Dragons 68-60 tonight in Thailand.

Charles was unstoppable in the paint and finished the game with 35 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocks. Wutipong Dasom also had a good outing and finished with 15 points. None of the other players on the team reached double digits although Froilan Baguion continued his ascent as the League’s assist leader and recorded 11 assists in this game to complement his 5 points.

The Slammers made their intentions clear from the beginning with a dunk from Charles early in the first quarter that brought them up 13 to 10. Charles then asserted his dominance in the paint as he blocked a Julius Armon shot just a minute later at 3:22. Charles scored 9 of his team’s first 13 points.

Gavin Edwards returned the favor with his own dunk for the Dragons and then made a block at the other end to tie things up at 15 all. That was as close as they got however as the Slammers then went on a 7 point run to end the quarter – a Dasom three sandwiched by two Charles dunks to close out the first 22 to 15.

Guga opened up the second period with a stunning three but Charles stole the ball from him in the next possession and successfully converted the shot. At the mid-way point in the second quarter the Slammers had cumulated a 9-2 run that put them up 37 to 22.

The Dragons fought back with their own 11-2 run and found themselves within a one basket game at 39-33 with a little over a minute remaining in the half. Charles once again came to the Slammers rescue as he blocked a Melton shot and then jams the ball to bring the Slammers back 41-33. A Dasom three capped off an exciting quarter which saw the Slammers lead 44 to 35 over the Dragons heading into the break.

The Dragons started the second half on a 14 to 4 run capped by a basket from Tautuaa which gave them the lead at 49 to 48 for the first time since the first quarter. Both teams traded baskets over the next three minutes, the point difference never going above one until Charles once again stepped up for his team to put them ahead 53 to 50 with 2:16 left in the clock.

The Dragons had a good chance to catch up in the final minute but were unable to find their offense a series of four missed field goal attempts, two free throws, capped with a missed lay-in saw them go down 53-50 into the final quarter.

Tautuaa opened up scoring in the fourth with a dunk to bring his team in 53 to 52. Dasom immediately answered with a basket of his own to put some breathing room between the teams at 55 to 52. Both teams were cold for nearly two minutes until Melton brought the visitors back within one point at the 7:34 mark. The Dragons still didn’t have an answer for Charles however who then sank a crucial three to put 4 points back between them.

The intense fourth quarter continued with the Slammers staving off all Dragons attempts to overtake them. At 61-60 for the Slammers and 3:34 to go, Charles and Dasom put up important blocks on Edwards’s and Loh Shee Fai’s shots to maintain their lead. The Dragons’ woeful night continued as both Melton and Hubbard were sent to the line with an opportunity to close in but missed all their attempts.

With 30 seconds remaining in the game the Slammers held on to a 4 point lead at 64 to 60. Baguion was sent to the line and despite only having scored one point throughout the entire game to this point, he sank both his free throws to push the Slammers up 66 to 60. On the next possession Tautuaa put in a huge three to edge closer to 63-66. Overtime looked inevitable at this point until Baguion was again sent to the line and scored the last two points of the game to see the Slammers reclaim the fourth spot on the standings 68 to 63.

Tautuaa was the leading scorer for the Dragons with 23 points followed by Edwards who contributed 15 points. Hubbard and Melton were limited to a combined 11 points although Hubbard managed to grab 11 rebounds during the game.

Hot off the announcement of new title sponsors Sports Rev, local players Chanachon Klahan and Wutipong Dasom led the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers defeat of the Saigon Heat 90-75 at Tan Binh Stadium, Vietnam. The Slammers successfully strengthened their position at the fourth spot with a record of 6-9.

Klahan had his best game in a Slammers jersey with 17 points. Charles also contributed 17 points before he was ejected in the third quarter while Darrius Brannon finished with 16 points. Dasom scored 10 of his 14 points in the final quarter. After flirting with a triple-double all season long, Froilan Baguion finally had one as he posted up 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

The Heat has been hammered by injuries all season long. For this game, the Heat only have eight players on the bench as Larry Tieu had to sit out due to a back injury he suffered against the Indonesia Warriors on Wednesday night. Things did not get better for the Heat as Jai Reyes suffered what looked like a foot injury with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. Fortunately, Reyes was able to return to the game in the third quarter.

Things got very intense in the third quarter when Klahan and Chris Sumalinog fought for a loose ball. Klahan, who grabbed the loose ball, caught Sumalinog on the nose with his elbow, which resulted in players from both teams getting involved. David Palmer and Charles then had a heated exchange which led to both players getting ejected with 7:40 left.

Despite the incident, the Slammers were able to keep their heads cool and Darrius Brannon sparked a 12-2 run which gave the Slammers a 57-47 lead with 2:11 left in the third quarter. The run was capped off with back to back baskets from Brannon who scored 8 points during that stretch.

Even though the Heat were left with 7 players, they played their hearts out. Sumalinog tried to lead a come back for his team early in the fourth quarter. Sumalinog drove hard to the basket for a lay-up and sank a three-point shot in the next possesion to cut the Heat's deficit to 7 points with 4:52 left.

Unfortunately for the Heat, Dasom made a few key plays down the stretch to deny their comeback. Dasom converted a three-point play and finished off a lob from Froilan Baguion which gave the Slammers their biggest lead in the game at 82-67 with 1:41 left.

Slammers' head coach Joe Bryant gave the Heat a lot of credit. "My hat goes off to Saigon Heat. They are a depleted team but they played with a lot of energy," said Bryant after the game.

The Heat would hope that the injury woes will stop so they wil be able to play in full strength for the remainder of the season. Dior Lowhorn led his team with 26 points, Sumalinog finished with 16 points while Jai Reyes and Al Vergara contributed 13 points each.

A dominant performance especially on the defensive end from San Miguel Beermen help them grab a 78-57 win over JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers for their seventh straight win.

Chris Banchero was brilliant and led the charge for the Beermen as he scored 19 points. Leo Avenido scored a season-high 16 points while Justin Williams had a complete game on both sides of the floor with 14 points and 3 blocks for the Beermen who are now have a record of 10-3.

Still in the hunt for the final playoffs spot, the Slingers looked solid early on in the first quarter. Phillip Morrison sank a three-point shot with 2:19 left in the first quarter, giving the Slingers a 13-10 lead. However, the Beermen responded right away behind their Williams duo who scored six straight points to gave the Beermen a 16-13 lead. From there, the Beermen never looked back.

Late in the second quarter, Banchero showed everyone why he is the top candidate for this year's best player in the league. He sets up Eric Menk for an open 16 footer shot in the corner. Then, he stole the ball from Phillip Morrison for an easy left hand lay-up which gave the Beermen a 36-22 lead with 53 seconds left before halftime.

Cabatu and Morrison was trying to keep the Slingers in the game. Cabatu's floater and Morrison' running shot kept the Slingers within single digit with 6:24 left in the third quarter. But, the Beermen held them to only four points for the rest of the third quarter.
A two-handed slam from J. Williams sparked a 11-2 run for the Beermen. This 11-2 run was capped off a turn around hook shot from Brian Williams and a pull up jumper from Banchero at the Buzzer as the Beermen ran off to a 57-37 lead after three quarters.

Down 20 points going into the final quarter, the Slingers were unable to find any answer to stop the Beermen offense. After suffering this loss, the Slingers are now on the fifth spot with a record of 5-10. Their big man Donald Singleton, who is averaging 14.8 points per game, was held to only 2 points in this game.

Rashad Jones-Jennings led the Slingers with 19 points and 15 rebounds, Phillip Morrison had his best game in a Slingers jersey with 17 points and Wong Wei Long added 11 points.

Jeric Fortuna races for the easy two against Singapore.

Phillip Morrison tries some fancy dribbling to elude the
defense of Chris Banchero.

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

Images: Images are from AseanBasketballLeague.com.

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