The Kuala Lumpur Dragons pulled of an incredible comeback against a resilient Formosa Dreamers team, downing the visitors 80-79 at MABA Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The visiting Formosa Dreamers capitalized early in the opening period, taking advantage of Dragons misfires to go on a 14-3 run. Cade Davis established himself from deep early on, helping to cut away at his team’s deficit, but the visitors were still able to maintain a 27-16 advantage after 10 minutes of play.
The Dreamers’ Anthony Tucker and Jet Chang continued their offensive aggression into the second quarter, with Chang converting three shots within the first five minutes. Meanwhile, Amir Bell and Davis fell into early foul trouble, resulting in the Dragons losing defensive pressure on the opposition’s backcourt pair. A ferocious Jerran Young fast break dunk late in the period gave the Dreamers momentum going into the half with a 50-33 lead.
With three Dreamers players finishing the opening half in double figures in addition to a 15-point advantage in fast-break points, Tucker further extended his team’s lead to 20 following a 3-pointer to start the third quarter.
The Dragons struggled to keep up with Formosa’s furious pace in the open court for much of the contest, but a 14-4 William Artino-powered surge with four minutes remaining in the third helped put Kuala Lumpur back within striking distance. A deep ball from local Ting Chun Hong coupled with three consecutive Dragons conversions to end the quarter would cut the Dreamers’ lead to just two points going into the final period.
Artino continued to disrupt his former team to begin the fourth quarter, finishing a tough and-1 basket to give the Dragons their first lead of the game at 64-62. However, Chang quickly responded with a 3-pointer to swing the lead back to the Dreamers. Both teams took turns exchanging baskets down the stretch, which included highlight plays from Davis and Tucker.
With 22 seconds remaining in the game and his team down two points, Tucker hit a clutch dagger from beyond the arc to give the Dreamers a slim one-point leader. But Bell would answer on the ensuing possession with a go-ahead basket which ultimately sealed the victory for Kuala Lumpur.
Led by Davis and Artino, who both finished with 22 points, the Dragons had four players score in double figures, including 17 from Bell and 11 from veteran Shee Fai Loh. 16 of Artino’s team-high 22 points came in the second half.
High-flyer Jerran Young led the way for the Dreamers, ending with a game-high 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Tucker added 24 points, which included seven 3-pointers.
The Dragons’ next game will be on the road when they travel to Thailand to face off against Mono Vampire on January 15th. Following the loss, the Dreamers will look to regain their winning momentum with the last of a four-game road trip against the Saigon Heat on January 18th.
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