ABL10: 🏀KL Dragons 80 – 79 Formosa Dreamers🏀
Just like our final home game of last season, we win our first home game of the season with a come from behind 80-79 cliffhanger win over the Formosa Dreamers from Chinese Taipei.
The visitors from Chinese Taipei came out hot, starting on a 10-0 run before a Cade Davis three pointer finally got us on the scoreboard. We kept up the fight and managed to cut the lead to three thanks to a Will Artino layup. Unfortunately for us, the Dreamers kept their form going, with Kenny Chien and Anthony Tucker combining for a 8-0 run to give the Dreamers an 11 point lead at the end of the first quarter
Amir Bell and Cade Davis combined to cut the lead to seven early in the second before the 2017/2018 season World Import MVP Anthony Tucker took over the game, scoring four three pointers to put the game firmly in the Dreamer’s control. The Dreamers were able to extend the lead to 17 at the half thanks to Jet Chang’s steal and layup to beat the buzzer.
The third quarter started with Anthony Tucker hitting his sixth three pointer to increase the lead to 20. Undeterred by this, Will Artino instantly hit back with a basket of his own to start our comeback.
For most of the third quarter, the Dreamers were still able to keep us at bay at a comfortable margin with a Jordan Tolbert dunk giving them a 14 point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter.
Off the ensuing timeout, ‘Mei Mei’ Ting Chun Hong’s three pointer sparked a 14-2 run as we finally cut the lead to single digits and ensure the Dreamers only led 62-60 going into the final quarter.
A tense final quarter started without a basket on both ends for almost three minutes before Amir Bell finally tied the game. Will Artino followed it up with the basket and the foul to give us our first lead of the game with seven minutes remaining.
Our lead was short lived as Jordan Tolbert and Jerran Young combined to regain the lead for the Dreamers. The team kept battling throughout the quarter and our efforts paid off as our shooters Cade Davis and Loh Shee scored back-to back three pointers to give us a three point lead with less than a minute remaining.
On the following play, despite being kept quiet for most of the second half, Anthony Tucker would suddenly come alive, completing a tough three point play to tie the game.
Foul trouble haunted the Dreamers next as Will Artino was fouled and made his two free throws to regain our two point lead to force a Dreamers time out with 21 seconds remaining.
Off the time out, it was Tucker once again who threatened to ruin our day with a three pointer from the top of the key to give them a one point lead with eight seconds remaining.
Determined to get our win today, our starting point guard Amir Bell drove to the corner, dropped his defender and sank the jumper that secured the dramatic 80-79 victory to push our record to 4-2.
It was a historical day for us as 20 points was the largest deficit we ever came back to win in our ASEAN Basketball League history.
Our best performer for the day was Cade Davis with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Davis shot an efficient 61% and was 4/6 from beyond the arc.
Will Artino logged 22 points, 9 rebounds while our game winner Amir Bell had 17 points and 5 assists. On the local front, our veteran Loh Shee Fai led the way with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
After the game, Head Coach Jamie Pearlman said, “The belief of this group got us through. We got guys with tremendous heart who just keep battling. We had to make some defensive changes in the second half and the guys executed it at a really high level. Those changes helped stifle their offense and credit to our guys for only allowing them 29 points in the second half. We started out flat, maybe because of the first home game jitters but we finished strong, and we’ll take a lot of confidence from this game.”
Before we take a two weeks break for Chinese New Year, we travel to Thailand to once again face Mono Vampire on the 15th of January at 7.00 PM Malaysia time.
The 2017/2018 season runners up are currently sitting at the top of the standings with a 5-2 record and are currently unbeaten on their home floor with a 4-0 record. Our previous encounter this season saw us drop a close 73-79 loss on the road as we missed five of our players who were on national team duty during that period.
Mono Vampire’s top player for the season so far has been their resident import, Mike Singletary who is averaging 21.3 PPG. 9.6 RPG and 3.3 APG. Singletary was recently named ABL player of the month for November 2019.
Fans can catch the game live on ABL’s YouTube and Facebook page as well as Astro Arena.