ABL: Daniels leads Warriors over Slammers

The Indonesia Warriors made it six straight wins with an impressive 90-74 win over the Chang Thailand Slammers on Friday.

Steven Demon Thomas
Marcus Chhan

By Marcus Chhan

The defending ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champions were always in control of the match in Thailand, leading the Slammers by eight points after the first period before going on to build their 16 point margin of victory thanks to a strong finish at the end.

Warriors forward Chris Daniels starred for the Indonesians with 22 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals and four blocks to record his eighth double-double in eight games this season.

"It feels good," Daniels said at the ABL's customary man-of-the-match interview.

"To get six [wins] in a row after coming out losing our first two [games] - it feels good."

The Slammers kept it a close game all the way into the final minutes of the period thanks to 27 points and 12 rebounds from centre Chris Charles as well as through a stellar night for local Thai prospect Wutipong Dawsom, who finished with 23 points.

Both teams began the contest at Bangkok University with ice-cold shooting, though, and it took over two and half minutes for the first successful field goal to be registered - Charles turning and spinning near the hoop before getting the ball to drop in.

However, that basket would only signal the start of a period of dominance from the visitors as they responded by going on a 9-0 run to establish an early 10-3 lead.

The Thais fought back through Charles and Dawsom as the pair combined for 14 of the 16 points scored by the Slammers in the first quarter which ended with Steven Demon Thomas (15 points, 11 rebounds) converting two free throws at the end to make it 24-16.

The Slammers were finding it difficult to defend Thomas on the post-up as his impressive physique gave him an advantage against any defender Slammers coach Joe Bryant matched him up against - including the seven-footer Charles.

The Warriors were also able to exploit another mismatch on the floor with Daniels' energy, pace and athleticism giving Slammer Michael Earl all he could handle.

In fact there was little anyone in a Slammers uniform could do to stop Daniels from flying in for the tip-in off Christian Sitepu's wayward three point shot to extend the lead to double digits with more than six minutes remaining before half-time.

Slammers point-guard Froilan Baguion (seven points, eight assists) would cut it down to six points with a sweet baseline jumper which kissed off the backboard but a three from the corner by Mario Wuysang - he shot 4/7 from beyond the arc - made it 44-35 to the Warriors at the game's midway point.

The third period was another back-and-forth affair but better shooting from the Thais would have allowed them to really trouble the Indonesians more than they did.

Wacharapong Tongsri finally connected from three point range - his first from 10 attempts at that point in time - with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter to make it a seven point game.

Then Charles fed Tongsri for an open look from beyond the arc which he nailed to get the Slammers to within four points of the Warriors but Sitepu went straight back down the other end with a triple of his own to keep it a seven point game at 63-56.

With 6:23 to go in fourth quarter, the Slammers again brought the lead down to four points with another Tongsri effort from distance. Adding to the drama, the officials signalled that Warriors centre Donny Ristanto had fouled Danai Kongkum away from the ball meaning the home team would keep possession and have the chance to further piece together a comeback.

Unfortunately, Tongsri was not nearly as accurate with his next shot as he air-balled a three point attempt.

The Warriors, on the other hand, closed out the game in some shooting style with John Smith (13 points), Jerick Canada (14 points) and Wuysang all finding their range from beyond the arc in the remaining minutes to push it out to a 90-74 victory.

"It wasn't a 16 point game," Warriors coach Todd Purves said in his post-match interview.

"It was close all the way into the fourth quarter and we had to keep grinding it out till the end."

The Chang Thailand Slammers will next visit the Westports Malaysia Dragons at MABA Stadium in Malaysia on the 23rd of February 2013 for the 1500hr HKT tip-off.

The Indonesia Warriors will have a bit of a break before they host the Chang Thailand Slammers at Mahaka Square, Indonesia on Wednesday the 3rd of March for a 2000hr HKT tip-off.

Quarter scoring: Q1(16-24) Q2(19-20) Q3(21-21) Q4(18-25) 

Full-Time: Slammers 74-90 Warriors

Slammers: Charles - 27pts, 12reb; Dawsom - 23pts; Tongsri - 10pts; Baguion - 7pts.

Warriors: Daniels - 22pts, 14reb; Wuysang - 16pts; Thomas - 15pts; Canada - 14pts; Smith - 13pts.

ABL: Fixtures, Standings and Results.

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