ABL: Hoops Fest tips off with Warriors win

The Indonesia Warriors opened ASEAN Basketball League's inaugural Hoops Fest event with a 74-67 win over the Chang Thailand Slammers.

Mario Wuysang

The defending champions rode to victory on the back of a strong fourth quarter by Mario Wuysang, who finished with 20 points, and a solid contribution from Chris Daniels (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks).

The Slammers trailed by double-digits early in the third quarter but battled back valiantly through star point-guard Florian Baguion's double-double of 13 points and 11 assists.

Chris Charles had 9 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks in the losing effort.

With coach Joe Bryant back in the United States for the birth of his grandchild, the Thais turned to assistant coach P-J D'Rozario for Friday's encounter.

And at the half, he would have been delighted to see a closely contested game with the current ABL leaders only up 36-33 against his bottom of the league Slammers.

It didn't last long.

Wuysang pushed it out to a 12 point lead for the Indonesians after an easy bucket on an offensive rebound with just over 8 minutes left in the quarter.

The Warriors had 16 second chance points to zero for the Slammers.

But the Thais stayed interested with Sekteera Pairach having his best game of the season with 10 points to leave the match evenly poised at 52-52 to end the third.

Wuysang would have the last say, though, as his eight points in the final period sealed the 74-67 win which keeps the Warriors top of the table.

A big second half performance from the San Miguel Beermen helped them to a 73-53 win over the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers in the second game of Hoops Fest on Friday.

New Slingers signing Singleton impressed under the basket with several two-handed dunks to help him finish with 16 points, but it wasn't enough to match the Beermen's excellent all-round performance orchestrated by Chris Banchero, who ended the match with a game-high 19 points.

The Beermen pulled away first after an 8-2 run that earned them the 14 to 6 lead in the first five minutes of the game having made six of nine shot attempts from the field. Slingers fought their way back into the game, getting to within five points with two minutes remaining in the quarter and trailed by just four points heading into the second quarter at 13 to 17. 

Brian Williams got the second half rolling with a putback layup, as the Beermen started the third quarter on a 6-0 run and opened up a 9 point lead. Not to be deterred, the Slingers fought back with a healthy diet of free throws, eventually pulling to within three points. 

The Slingers didn't score a field goal until five minutes into the period, breaking their drought with a powerful two-handed Singleton dunk. An acrobatic Chris Banchero layup put the Beermen up 47-41 with two minutes to go, and the period ended with the Beermen leading the Slingers 49-45. 

After keeping it close through three, the Slingers failed to match the physical play of the Beermen in the fourth. Ratcheting up the defensive intensity, the Beermen took over in the first three minutes of the final period, jumping out to a 12 point lead. 

After a trio of J. Williams blocks and an emphatic Taulava jam, the game was all but over for the Slingers. The Beermen finished the game strong, with the final score 73-53 in favor of the Beermen.

The final game of the day saw the Westports Malaysia Dragons record a surprise 90-69 win over hosts Saigon Heat at the Tan Binh Stadium.

David Palmer fired in 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Heat but it wasn't enough against Gavin Edwards, who had a monster game with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Loh Shee Fai opened the scoring for the Dragons with a three-pointer and the Malaysian side led the hosts 12-11 in the opening minutes of a closely contested game, but the hosts went on a 11-0 run to end the first quarter with a 22-12 lead.

However, the Dragons, boosted by Edwards' 12 points in the first half, fought back and managed to claw level to trail by a point 38-37 by the end of the second quarter.

They then managed to open up a 10-point lead with new boy Marcus Hubbard impressing as well with 14 points and nine rebounds in his first game for the Dragons.

The Heat then faded away further as the game went on. The spirited cheering from the crowd failed to spur them on as they ended the game in a surprise 69-90 defeat.

Sunday 17th March 2013, Tan Binh Stadium

Slammers vs Slingers (1400hrs)
Beermen vs Saigon Heat (1630hrs)
Warriors vs Dragons (1900hrs)

ABL: Fixtures, Standings and Results.

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