NS Matrix, Heat leave Eastern behind towards the top with wins

Only two teams share the top of the standings in the 2023 ABL Invitational after wins secured
by Saigon Heat and NS Matrix Malaysia halfway through the Kuala Lumpur circuit.

The marquee matchup of the days tipped things off with Saigon Heat winning over Hong Kong
Eastern 84-71 to get a full game ahead of their rivals in the standings.

Both teams had identical standings at 7-2 heading into the clash, but with tonight’s win, the
Heat go up ahead (8-2) over Eastern (7-3) with only a few games left in the schedule.



Both teams slowed the pace down in this game, making it a game of possessions where the
Vietnamese squad handled it much better. The Heat committed only 8 turnovers on their end,
while they forced Eastern into 19 turnovers (on 10 steals) which led to 17 points.

Jeremy Combs continued to have a blast in Kuala Lumpur and ended this game with 23 points,
11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Meanwhile, Nguyen Huynh Phu Vinh provided a spark off
the bench with 11 points on 3 three-pointers in as many attempts while also getting 5

For Hong Kong Eastern, it was a massive performance from O’darien Bassett who tallied 32
points on 6 three-pointers to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. However, the team as a whole
struggled too much from the field, shooting only 39 percent.

Joining Saigon Heat at the top of the standings are NS Matrix Malaysia who entertained the
home crowd with a massive 117-78 win over Bangkok Tigers. This is their eighth straight win in
the 2023 ABL Invitational, getting them to 8-2 in this competition.


Playing in front of their home crowd on a Saturday, NS Matrix pushed the tempo from the get
go and only slowed down towards the tail end of the game. They scored over 30 points in each
of the first three quarters, shooting a blistering 58 percent from the field. Five different players
connected on three-pointers, combining for a total of 13 points in which they converted at a
rate of 44 percent.

While all players played at least 10 minutes and no one logged over 23 minutes, Amir Williams
(21 points, 9-12 shooting, 11 rebounds, 3 assists) and Ting Chun Hong (20 points, 7-10 shooting,
5-5 three-point shooting, 6 rebounds) led the home team in this one.

On the Tigers end, new recruit Augustus Stone Jr continued to take advantage of the spotlight
on him, dropping 30 points to lead the team in this tough loss.

The Bangkok Tigers can still mathematically turn this around and make a late run for a final
playoff spot, but it is going to be a tall task as they will have to be near perfect on their end and
hope for their opponents to slip as well. The Bangkok Tigers will be playing for survival as they
quickly turn around to play against the in-form Zamboanga Valientes on Monday, February 6.


Hong Kong Eastern gets a one-day rest and a chance to rebound before leaving Kuala Lumpur
when they also face Zamboanga Valientes on Tuesday, February 7.

Meanwhile, the matchup everyone eagerly awaits is happening on two days’ time. NS Matrix
and Saigon Heat shall have time to prepare before going up against each other on Wednesday,
February 8. The first time these two matched up at OCBC Arena was an instant classic. Now that
they are playing each other again with the outright claim as leader in the top of the standings
on the line should make it a barnburner.