Having lost their first meeting by a single point in Singapore last month, the Dragons fired back led by Sammy Monroe's 29 points to secure a convincing 19 point victory at MABA Stadium in Malaysia in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
Monroe led all scoring while Gavin Edwards recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Patrick Cabahug chipped in 14 points but unfortunately he also suffered an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter after stepping on Slingers' Ng Han Bin's foot.
The Dragons missed their first ten attempts at the start of the game until Monroe made a lay-up with 6:01 left in the first quarter. The Slingers took an early 11-7 lead on a jumpshot from Jun Cabatu and a left handed hook shot from Rashad Jones-Jennings.
Guga, who has been struggling in his last two games, came in late in the first quarter and made an immediate impact. The Dragons captain made a bank shot and a pair of three-point shots to help the Dragons grab a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Monroe and Edwards teammed up in the second quarter to spark a 14-2 run for the Dragons. Monroe's jumpshot and dunk capped off the run which gave the Dragons a 31-20 lead with 4:02 left before halftime.
The Slingers were able to get back within 6 points early in the third quarter behind Don Dulay who was on fire coming out of the locker room. Dulay scored on a pull-up jumper and a lay-up that shaved the Dragons' lead to 41-35 with 6:11 left in the third quarter. Then Wu Qingde made a corner jumpshot that cut the Slingers' deficit further to 43-39 with 3:31 left in the third.
With the Slingers getting closer, the Dragons made a quick 7-0 run to close the third quarter. Cabahug, who had been struggling with his shot, made a step back jumper and a three point shot as he stretched the Dragons lead to 50-39 at the end of the third quarter.
Melton showed off his leaping ability early in the fourth as he stole the ball from Mitchell Folkoff and finished it off with a reverse jam which got the crowd at MABA erupting. Melton's dunk was followed by a three-point shot by Monroe which gave the Dragons a 61-41 lead with 7:33 left before the final buzzer. The Slingers were only able to get as close as 18 points for the rest of the game. With this win, the Dragons are now at .500 with 5 wins and 5 losses.
Turnovers hurt the Slingers very badly in this game as they finished with 28 turnovers. "Turnovers killed us today [Sunday]. We need to clean this up as whole," said Slingers' head coach Neo Beng Siang.
Slingers' new center Rashaad Singleton had a decent debut with the Slingers. Singleton, who's in for the injured Kyle Jeffers, arrived late Friday night and was only able to get one practice in with the team. "Rashaad is still not adjusted with the weather in South East Asia and he's still jetlagged," said coach Neo on Singleton who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds plus 4 block shots.
Jennings led the Slingers with 17 points and 16 rebounds but he also committed 10 turnovers. Dulay added a season-high 12 points for the Slingers who now have a record of 4 wins and 5 losses.
Next, both teams will fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and play at the ABL Hoops Fest Saigon 2013. The Slingers will play San Miguel Beermen on Friday at 5:30PM HKT while the Dragons will take on hosts Saigon Heat at 8:00PM HKT for this week's ABL Friday Basketball on FOX Sports.
Quarter scoring: Q1(17-16) Q2(22-13) Q3(11-10) Q4(25-17)
Full-Time: Dragons 75-56 Slingers
Dragons: Monroe - 29 , Edwards - 14 , Cabahug - 10, Batumalai - 9, Melton - 4, Ooi - 4, Loh - 3, Ng -2.
Slingers: Jennings - 17, Dulay -12, Singleton - 11, Cabatu - 4, Ng - 4, Wong - 2, Folkoff - 2, Lim - 2, Wu -2.