Saigon Heat pile pressure on Singapore Slingers in an exciting win while the Macau Black Bears
head out of the 2023 ABL Invitational with a victory.
The fourth day of the games in the Vietnam circuit started with a win by the Black Bears as they
led from start to finish, 87-74, over Louvre Surabaya.
The victory means that the Black Bears finish this ABL Invitational campaign with a 7-7 record,
which is not enough to clinch a playoff spot. Even though their fate was sealed ever since their
previous loss to NS Matrix, the Black Bears continued to push forward and had 5 players score
in double-digits in this game. Jenning Leung led all scorers with 24 points while knocking down
6 three-pointers and grabbing 5 rebounds. Dequan Abrom reached the 20-point mark as well,
while Chan Wei Seng (12 points), Lao Chon Pong (11 points), and Ieong Kei Long (10 points)
helped their team get the win.
Alioune Tew had one of his best games since the Singapore circuit with 23 points, 23 rebounds,
and 3 blocks without a second of rest for Louvre Surabaya. The Indonesia club has one game
left with a 1-12 record and has now lost 11 games in a row.
The bigger game of the day was between the Singapore Slingers and the Saigon Heat and the
two teams did not disappoint the fans that trooped to Nguyen Du Stadium.
The Heat held the lead for most of the first half, but the Slingers’ turned up the intensity early
in the second half to swing the momentum back their way.
In the final moments, the two key local players for each team, Nguyen Huynh Phu Vinh (10
points, 2 three-pointers) and Jackson Mah (5 points, 6 rebounds), traded three-pointers to keep
the fans on the edge of their seats.
However, Hasan Thomas would be the hero in the end, getting the go-ahead dunk that would
give the Heat the lead until the final buzzer.
Kentrell Barkley continued to provide muscle to this Slingers squad with 26 points, 10 rebounds,
and 4 assists, but it was just not enough in this game.
Jarius Holder led the Heat in scoring for this game with 19 points, with Evan Gilyard (17 points)
trailing closely behind. With those two shooters gunning from the outside, the work down low
was loaded on Jeremy Combs (10 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Hasan Thomas (6
points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) who both recorded double-doubles.
The win gives the Saigon Heat a 10-3 record to match NS Matrix at the top of the standings,
though NS Matrix have the head-to-head advantage.
The Slingers now feel the pressure heading into their last game as they have an 8-5 record. All
they need is one more win to clinch a playoff spot, which they will have to get from the in-form
Zamboanga Valientes. The catch is that if the Slingers lose that matchup, they are likely on their
way out of playoff contention as they shall end up with a head-to-head disadvantage against
Fans won’t have to wait too long as the Slingers immediately get back to work in the first game
of Thursday, 16 February.
The Heat can relax until the last game of the last day on Friday, 17 February where they play