Cedric Bozeman filled up the stats sheets with 25 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals for the Dragons who overcame a phenomenal performance from Heat's big man David Palmer.
Palmer, a 6'9'' center, showed off his range as he knocked down 8 three-pointers on his way to a monster game with 34 points and 18 rebounds. Dior Lowhorn added 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat who finished with 28% shooting.
Heat's ASEAN imports trio Phillip Morrison, Karl Dehesa and Jai Reyes missed 18 of their 21 shots combined.
Unexpectedly, Dragons' head coach Ariel Vanguardia did not start his stars Guga Batumalai and Moala Tautuaa. However the Dragons did not show any rustiness in the first quarter as they built up a big lead early after making a 15-0 run halfway through the first quarter.
Bozeman hit a three-point shot and a dunk to help the Dragons to a 20-5 lead. On the other end the Heat was only shooting at 18% in the first quarter which resulted in them looking at the wrong end of a 13-24 scoreline at the end of the 1st quarter.
"I'm happy with our team's performance. We came into a hostile environment and we played well together," Bozeman said after the game.
The Heat fought back in the third quarter and Palmer's back to back to three point shots pulled the Heat within one point at only 1:49 left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Dragons answered the Heat's run immediately and stretched their lead to 59-53 at the end of the third quarter.
It was a battle a in the fourth quarter as the Heat continued to try and get a win from behind to defend their homecourt, but it seemed like every time the Heat found a way to get closer, the Dragons found an answer. Dior Lowhorn converted 4 free-throws in a row to cut the Heat's deficit to 64-68 with 5:38 left but Guga Batumalai, Patrick Cabahug and Bozeman scored 9 points to push the lead back to 77-66 which eventually sealed the win for the Dragons.
Gavin Edwards contributed 14 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks while Guga added 11 points off the bench. Dragons also received valuable contributions from Ooi Ban Sin who finished with 9 points.
"We are going to face a lot of adversity this season and I'm glad that we weathered their rally. Our local guys really stepped up today [Saturday] and provided us with a lot of options," Dragons coach Vanguardia said after the game.
Saigon Heat: David Palmer - 34, Dior Lowhorn - 23, Dehesa - 5, Jai Reyes - 5, Philip Morrison - 2, Ly - 1,
Westports Malaysia Dragons: Bozeman - 25, Edwards - 14, Batumalai - 11, Ooi - 9, Cabahug - 8, Tautuaa - 6, Kuek - 5, Ng - 2.