Viet Nam News
HÀ N?I — Saigon Heat lost to Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions 97-110 on Wednesday in the penultimate match of the qualifying round of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
The two sides, who played at Southorn stadium in Hong Kong, had to play five quarters to decide the winners. The Long Lions ended their two-game losing streak, finishing the season with a win.
The game between top-seeded Long Lions and fourth-seeded Heat was a glimpse of their playoff matchup. It was also the first meeting between both teams’ biggies, Heat’s Jordan Henriquez and Long Lions’ Josh Boone, who returned from a two-game absence.
Despite the game not having any bearing in the standings, it was intensely competitive, making it clear that both squads wanted to make a statement with a victory over the other.
“That’s how important it is – we want to win every game,” Steven Guinchard of Long Lions said on the tournament’s official website. “It feels good to come back from those two losses; we shouldn’t have lost. We could’ve done a better job, but we got the win.”
“We came here to win this game,” Heat head coach Tony Garbelotto. “We made a statement tonight. No one in this league has gotten close to this team. We beat them a week ago, and we should have won in regulation.”
Aside from Marcus Elliott’s triple-double performance, the Long Lions’ Tyler Lamb played a great game, with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Boone returned to the line-up to chip in 21 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.
The Heat were led by brilliant performance from Lenny Daniel, who finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. David Arnold also continued his recent stellar performance with 23 points, six assists and two steals.
The Heat will return to Hong Kong to face the Long Lions on April 5 in the first game of the semi-finals.
With one thriller going down the wire, the Long Lions and the Heat have showed the ABL that their upcoming matchup will be out-and-out war. — VNS