If there is anything that the Westports Malaysia Dragons wish to forget during their shaky season, it would definitely be their last game against the Saigon Heat at MABA Stadium. The Vietnamese counterpart came into the game ready and hot-handed, basically tearing up the home team’s terrible defense piece-by-piece.
The 33-point win is the Heat’s largest margin of victory against their Malaysian rival. Their starting five members all shot at least 50 percent from the field, more than enough to brutally crush the Dragons. In fact, the game literally went into garbage time after the first half when the Heat limited the Dragons to just 14 points. It was due in large part to the efforts of Moses Morgan, who had 19 points that included five long bombs from rainbow territory before the game went into the half time break.
Another guy that came off impressive was their only big man Maxie Esho. The 27-year old world import looked to of had a fun time against AJ West, where he used his athleticism to his advatange in penetrating to the rim. He also had two steals and two blocks that showed his dominance on the defensive end.
Dragons heritage import Joshua Munzon did try to carry his team in fighting back with Heat, but he himself was only able to score seven more points after his hot start in the first quarter. It was a hard hit for the Dragons squad, where every one of them looked rather miserable on the court, alerting management to make quick changes after the loss.
Now that the Malaysian team will be walking into CIS Arena with a 2-game winning streak in their bag, they are looking more confident than ever going into this game. Based on the way they beat San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, it appears that they have their swagger back and believe they are here not just for the W, but also looking for revenge for their previous meeting.
Key Individual Match-Up(s)
Two Modern Basketball Minds
It was believed that the early remark from Dragons head coach Chris Thomas triggered their Vietnamese counterpart, especially the man that implemented a whole new system for the team, coach Kyle Julius. Things went out of control when the latter refused to shake the former’s hand during their first game in Kuala Lumpur.
Both are modern coaches that believe going small in their lineup will help them create more space, and ultimately lead to great shots all around the floor. Similarly, both teams are filled with outside shooters, athletic wings and versatile big men who are able to contribute in terms of scoring down the stretch. Now it will be up to the respective head coaches to draw some impressive plays and solid line-ups that can go head-to-head with each other this Saturday night.
Akeem Scott VS Chris Eversley
The Jamaican Flash is also known as a vocal leader that can group his teammates and lead by example in every game they have played thus far this season. His leadership is highly valued by Julius, and is one of the main reasons why he was brought in initially. It will be a tough challenge for the Dragons to task anyone from the team to guard him, especially since he is pretty much impossible to stop when he turns his engine on and penetrates straight to the basket.
On the other hand, the presence of Chris Eversley for this unstable Dragons squad is will be highly valuable at this stage of the season. Even though he just rejoined the team about one month ago, his teammates are already willing to listen to him and follow through his steps during their recent two victories. Chris is another exceptional leader that is bringing the best out of his young teammates, so it’s safe to say this is a completely different Dragons team that the Heat last met.