The third circuit of the 2023 ABL Invitational set in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia started off similar to
the situation before the Lunar New Year break with Saigon Heat and NS Matrix claiming wins in
their first games.
The opening tilt was between the Saigon Heat and Bangkok Tigers in which the Vietnamese club
was able to come away with a 98-81 victory.
The new-look Bangkok Tigers started off the third circuit on a positive note, holding the lead for
most of the first half and shooting at a high percentage. New addition Augustus Stone went
right to work for a total of 23 points in his debut, while Kittitep Dasom shot the lights out with
18 points on 5 three-pointers.
However, the Saigon Heat came out strong in the second half in which they never trailed for a
single second. The Tigers had no answer for Jeremy Combs who had an uber-efficient 25 points
on 10-13 shooting from the field to go with 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Evan Gilyard, in the
meanwhile, kept the Tigers defense honest from the outside to compile 20 points on 4 three-
Coach Matthew Van Pelt was able to go through his entire roster in this game with one of the
main beneficiaries being Tim Waale who scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting in just 11 minutes of
The home team, NS Matrix Malaysia, were not to be outdone and immediately followed the
opening game with a massive win on their end over Louvre Surabaya, 89-51.
NS Matrix led this game from start to finish to the delight of the home crowd who were
watching their team live for the first time in the 2023 ABL Invitational. It was certainly a delight
for the fans in Kuala Lumpur as they witnessed their team extend their winning streak to 7
games while all of the players saw at least 10 minutes of action save for De Wee Yiang who was
just 23 seconds shy.
The Player of the Tournament from the Batam Circuit, Amir Williams, had an easy job as Louvre
Surabaya’s Alouine Tew did not play in this game, resulting in a 14-point, 9-rebound, 3-assits,
and 2-block outing on 7-10 shooting. Fellow star Tevin Glass also had an efficient game with 23
points on 9-13 shooting while making all four of his three-point attempts. Newly acquired
import player Isaiah Williams made a solid introduction to the fans as he scored 13 points on 5-
9 shooting in just 15 minutes of action.
The local players took some of the shine for themselves as well. Ting Chun Hong continues to
have his best year yet playing in ABL competitions, finishing this game with 16 points and 5
rebounds while shooting 6-8 from the floor.
While this was the 7 th straight win for NS Matrix, it was also the 7 th straight loss for Louvre
The Saigon Heat will have a tough schedule from here on out in Kuala Lumpur and it starts with
a rematch against Hong Kong Eastern, to whom they had recently lost 89-82, on Sunday,
NS Matrix Malaysia and Bangkok Tigers will also play again on Sunday, as they will face each
other for the first time in the 2023 ABL Invitational.
Louvre Surabaya will get a longer break to recover, returning into action on Tuesday, February 7
against the Macau Black Bears.