Saigon Heat secured a place in the semifinals of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) for the first time despite a 75-100 loss to Hi-Tech Bangkok City in a match at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.
Hi-Tech Bangkok City’s Chris Charles scored the most with a total of 27 points.
Jerick Canada and Wutipong Dasom finished with 11 points each. Wongsawangtum Montien, Patrick Cabahug, Wattana Suttisin and Sukhdavb Ghoghar finished with 10 points apiece for Hi-Tech who improved to a 14-9 record, according to an ABL report.
The Heat had to sign Dimitriy Guchko to replace Mark Yee. Guchko drained two three-pointers early to give the Heat a 10-6 lead with 4:51 left in the first period. But, Hi-tech answered with 12 straight points by a triple from Canada. Bangkok City held a 27-15 lead after 10 minutes.
Hi-Tech’s lead ballooned to 24, 46-22, after Cabahug made a turnaround jumper over Leo Avenido with 3:27 left. Saigon managed to trim their deficit to 13-point, 48-35, after going on a 13-2 run with 1 minute remaining in the second period. But, Cabahug made a three-pointer right before the buzzer to give Hi-Tech a 51-35 cushion at halftime.
Bangkok City put Saigon away early in the fourth quarter after grabbing their biggest lead in the game at 33, 89-56 with 7:44 left on a tip-in by Charles.
Williams led the Heat with 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Guchko finished with 21 points and went 5-for-5 from the behind-the-arc. Guchko also grabbed 15 rebounds for the Heat. Avenido added 11 points in 16 minutes of play.
“One of our major goals was to make the Playoffs and we are able to do that. I’m really satisfied about that,” said Heat's Co-Owner and General Manager Connor Nguyen.
Saigon Heat: Williams – 23, Guchko – 21, Avenido -11, Phan – 5, Nguyen – 4, Arnold – 3, Tran – 2, Le – 2, Pham – 2, Hong – 2.
Hi-Tech Bangkok City: Charles – 27, Canada – 11, Dasom – 11, Montien – 10, Cabahug – 10, Suttisin – 10, Ghogar – 10, Piroon 7, Thomas – 4.
After 20 rounds, Westports Malaysia Dragons leads the scoreboard with 15 wins and 5 losses. Hi-Tech Bangkok City ranked second, followed by Singapore Slingers and Saigon Heat.
In semifinals, Saigon Heat will play Westports Malaysia Dragons on the latter’s court on October 29 and at home on November 2.