FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
No answer for Balkman.
Alab Pilipinas world import Renaldo Balkman established himself early on in the game, with the Heat unable to match his aggression deep in the paint. Whether it was leaking out off Saigon misses, or post-positioning in half-court sets, the Pilipinas big-man had his way whenever the ball touched his hands. It was apparent that the visitors were looking to take advantage of the Heat’s lack of size by feeding Balkman early and often, and the home squad’s strategy of collapsing proved to be ineffective as the ex-NBA player finished the game with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting, 20 rebounds, six of which came off the offensive glass, six assists, four steals, and one block. To characterize his night, Balkman also had a mean one-handed jam over Moses Morgan midway through the third quarter.
Lawrence Domingo reversal.
In his best performance of the 2017-2018 ABL season thus far, the heritage import had a nice hand in helping his team come out victorious in an intense Sunday-night battle. Though there weren’t any plays run for him, and though he wasn’t a focal point in the Phillipine-side’s offensive scheme, Lawrence Domingo was a vital part of their success through his tenacity off the offensive glass. In what looked like a rebound-and-layup-drill you might see in practice, Domingo bailed out his team with crucial extra possessions and reverse-layup after reverse-layup. The forward shot 77 percent from the field (7-9 field goals), finishing with 14 points, four rebounds (all offensive), and one steal in 30 minutes of action off the bench.
Another perimeter dud.
Coming off of a forgettable 3-point shooting effort against Mono Vampire last weekend, the Saigon Heat followed that up with another woeful shooting game from beyond the arc, as the team finished just 8-of-34, good for 23 percent. The Heat have kept to their season’s calling card, firing away from deep at a high rate, but against Alab Pilipinas, the only player that showed any kind of efficiency was Moses Morgan who finished at 57 percent (4-of-7). The usually reliable Akeem Scott was 1-of-9, Michael Williams was 2-of-10, Maxie Esho was 1-of-6, while David Arnold and Horace Nguyen both missed their only attempts.
Bench points and turnovers.
By no means was their performance even close to clean, as the visitors coughed up the ball more than twice the rate that the home squad did. Alab’s 22 turnovers, as opposed to just 10 from Saigon, translated into 24 points-off-turnovers for the latter, while the former finished with 11. To help negate that ugly number, Pilipinas was able to get more production from their bench when compare to the Heat. Much, much more. Led by Lawrence Domingo’s 14, the Filipinos had four players see game time off the bench, whereas Horace Nguyen was the only player other than the Heat starters to touch the floor, playing just shy of 18 minutes. What did that translate to? A huge difference in bench points, as Alab finished with 19 while the Heat received a donut.
Saigon identity crisis.
After starting out 2018 with three straight victories, which included victories against the previously undefeated Hong Kong Eastern and Chongson Kung Fu, the Saigon Heat are now winless in the three games following that stretch. ASEAN-import Michael Williams has been underwhelming, especially after an impressive start to his ABL career where he had looked like the league’s hottest new addition. To sum things up best, we’ll go to none other than Heat coach Kyle Julius. Before a matchup against Westports Malaysia Dragons, the team that started Saigon’s recent losing streak, Julius was asked about how the Heat looked this season as opposed to last season.
He responded by saying, “I think there’s been people making a big deal of our last couple of games. It’s not a big deal, it’s early in the year, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some early, we’re just trying to get better everyday. I don’t think we are anywhere near as good as people are saying we are. We got lots of work to do.”