Heat edge Alab Pilipinas to sneak into playoff conversation



By Harry Hodge
The Saigon Heat, who limped through the first eight games of the season, have suddenly come to life.
Battling for their lives in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) playoff picture, the Heat pulled out a gritty performance against Alab Pilipinas with a 78-74 victory Sunday night in Ho Chi Minh City. The win, coupled with losses by rivals Westports Malaysia Dragons and the Kaohsiung Truth, slide the Heat into the fourth playoff position at a record of 5-8.
The Heat are peaking at the right time, winning four of their last five games in dramatic fashion. Heat star Lenny Daniel led all scorers with 24 point and added 15 rebounds, while teammate Jordan Henriquez added his own double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Henriquez has helped the Heat to two wins filling in for the injured Christien Charles, although the Heat may try to find a way to keep him around if Saigon continues winning.
Four players hit double digits for Alab, led by Sampson Carter with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“We always believe in the game plan,” said Swedish-Vietnamese marksman Stefan Nguyen. “We know we can win every game.
“We’ve been playing with urgency the whole season.”
Saigon came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, leading 37-26 at the break. But Alab came alive in the third quarter, with the game tied 53 apiece heading into the fourth. Contributions from David Arnold and Moses Morgan sealed the game, despite some late jitters with an ill-advised three-shot foul by Nguyen on Alab’s Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with seconds remaining in the game.
The next game should be just as intense, with both teams facing one another this Friday, once again at CIS Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.


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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