SAIGON TIMES Dec. 2015: Heat take the bite out of Mono Vampire

SAIGON HEAT

SAIGON HEAT

By Harry Hodge
For two teams with losing records, you wouldn’t expect that Friday’s tilt between the Saigon Heat and Mono Vampire would have playoff implications.
But in a short season in a six-team league, every victory is crucial. And it was the hometown Heat in front of their Vietnamese fans who cruised to a 90-79 win over Thailand’s Mono Vampire in ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) action.
If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Heat would make the cut at 3-5 and sitting alone in fourth place in the league standings, creating separation with the Vampire crew who drop to 2-8.
The home atmosphere was electric, with the Heat led by American Will Creekmore, enjoying his best game in a Saigon uniform with 22 point and 12 rebounds. Teammate Lenny Daniel contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, including a high-flying 360 slam dunk and a reverse jam shortly thereafter to send the crowd into a frenzy. Vampire big man Anthony McClain led all scorers with 31 points and 16 rebounds, and newcomer Paul Butorac added 11 for the Thai team.
“We’ve lost too many close ones, but (we showed) we can put our foot on other team’s throats,” Creekmore said following his big night.
The game was close in the early going, with numerous lead changes and Mono Vampire leading 41-40 at halftime. But the Heat started pulling away in the third before building a double-digit lead that Vampire couldn’t overcome.
“Guys commit, they play hard and they wanna win,” said Heat head coach Tony Garbelotto, whose team has a lengthy road trip before the Heat return next month to face the Pilipinas MX3 Kings. “We do need to get out (on the road) a little more and develop a sense of identity.
“If we can win on the road, we’ll play even better at home.”

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About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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