Westports Malaysia Dragons kept their playoff hopes intact with a victory over the visiting Saigon Heat.
In the fourth and final matchup of the 2018-2019 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) regular season between the Dragons and Heat, it was the home team that was caught in a must-win situation. With Malaysia looking to make a late push into the playoffs, they absolutely needed a win over the visiting team from Saigon with only a few games remaining.
As the game tipped-off in what would turn out to be a tight battle between the two rival squads, the home side was able to take a comfortable 10-point advantage in the opening quarter, led by world import Chris Eversley. Saigon showed no signs of back down, aggressively charging back to cut their deficit to just two points at a score of 37-35 going into the half.
Coming out of the break, the visitors outscored their opponents 24-17 in the third quarter and sat on a five point lead with just 10 more minutes left to play. With momentum on their side, the Heat extended their lead to eight points after Corey Cilia hit a three-pointer to open up the fourth quarter scoring with 9:21 on the clock.
From the point on, the Dragons proved their resiliency and displayed a show of urgency as they fought back by outscoring their opponents 22-10 in the final nine minutes of the game en route to an 80-76 come-from-behind win.
Dragons world imports Winston Shepard and Chris Eversley both notched double-doubles in the victory, as the former finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds, while the latter ended with 22 points and 11 boards.
Two players also dropped double-doubles for the Heat, as Kyle Barone completed his night with a game-high of 32 points to go along with 12 boards, while DeAngelo Hamilton added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The two team’s next fixtures will see the Heat travel to Indonesia to face off against the CLS Knights on March 13, while the Dragons look to keep their playoff hopes in good fortunes when they host a tough Singapore Slingers squad on March 15.
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