The BTN CLS Knights Indonesia secure their entry into ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) playoffs by defeating the Westports Malaysia Dragons, 73-62, on their home floor.
The Dragons, welcomed the return of veteran shooter Loh Shee Fai and started well, going on a 6-0 run before a Darryl Watkins basket sparked a 16-2 run for the Knights, grabbing the early eight point advantage. Loh led the subsequent Dragons rally with a three-pointer, leading his team to cut the deficit down to three going into the second quarter.
Despite a Winston Shephard layup regaining the lead for the Dragons momentarily early in the second quarter, the Knights tight defense plagued the Dragons with turnovers, allowing the Knights to build the lead to as high as 13 in the second quarter.
A personal 5-0 scoring run by Nnanna Egwu including a poster dunk on Moh Sahroni allowed the Dragons to cut the lead to single digits going into the break.
Despite Egwu picking up his fourth foul late in the third quarter, the Dragons kept the game close in the second half until early in the fourth with a Shephard free throw, cutting the lead to only four.
The Knights kept their composure from that point off, with a pair of Brandan Jawato free throws sparking a 9-0 run to put the Dragons away for good. They closed out the game with the comfortable 73-62 win.
All five Knights starters finished in double digits scoring with Maxie Esho’s 24 points and eight rebounds leading the way. The Surabaya-based squad also forced the Dragons into committing 22 turnovers, scoring 20 points from turnovers which were crucial in ensuring the victory.
The Dragons’ efforts were led by Chris Eversley’s 20 points and nine rebounds.
CLS Knights Indonesia will look to climb further up the standings when they next face the Singapore Slingers on the road on the 10th of March. By virtue of them winning their season series, there will be no way for the currently ninth placed Dragons (6-14) to overtake the 12-11 Knights.
The Dragons, now on a five game losing streak, will attempt to reignite their playoffs qualifications hope against the Macau Black Bears in a road game scheduled for the 6th of March.
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