ABL: Dragons rally to edge out Warriors

It was another wild finish between the Indonesia Warriors and the Westports Malaysia Dragons with the latter the grabbing another one point win at 86-85.

ABL News: Chris Daniels

With this win, the Dragons solidified their position on third with a 10-8 record.

Marcus Hubbard had his best performance in a Dragons jersey in this game and finished with 32 points while shooting 60% from the field. Gavin Edwards contributed 18 points and Julius Armon also had a career night with 17 points.

The Dragons started the game slow and were scoreless in the first minutes as the Warriors grabbed a 4-point lead. Julius Armon then gave the Dragons their first lead at 7-6 at the six minute mark. A John Smith 3 put the Warriors back on top at 11-7 and the Warriors took back control to end the quarter leading 18-11.

Stanley Pringle got his first start of the season and showed little signs of ring rust as he finished the first half with 12 out of the Warriors' 32 points. With the Dragons closing in to just 4 at 25-21, Pringle grabbed the rebound drives through traffic, draws and converts a free throw to regain the 9 point lead 30-21 with 4 minutes left till the half.

With Chris Daniels and Steve Thomas forced to withdraw to the bench due to foul trouble, Dragons stage a run to close in to 35-32 with 2:25 on the clock. However, Pringle and John Smith takes advantage of the Dragons sloppy defense and ended the quarter defending their lead 39-32.

The Warriors come off the break by increasing their lead to 7 before back to back threes by Smith gives the Warriors a 45 to 32 lead. The Dragons responded with a 11-2 run to cut the deficit to just four points at 47-43 with a little over 5:37 left in the quarter. A sensational move by Edwards then turned it to a single possession game at 47-45 before Hubbard tied things up at 47.

Back on the floor, Thomas swings the momentum back to the Warriors as he puts in back to back baskets to stop the Dragons run. Canada continued the Warriors comeback by slicing through traffic to further increase the lead to 53-47. The Warriors headed into the fourth quarter on an 18-7 run to finish with the 65-54 lead heading into the final period.

Dragons started the breathtaking fourth quarter on a run capped by Melton going coast to coast for a lay-up to close in to 65-63 with 8 minutes left in the game. A John Ng three makes it a one point game at 68-69, then an Armon three gave the Dragons the lead 71-69 only for Daniels to lock things back up at 71 on the next possession.

Then Pringle stole the ball off Melton and launched into a two on one fast break which was converted by Canada. The Warriors are now back up 73-71 with 5 minutes on the clock. Pringle continued a great performance by converting 3-pt play to ensure the Warriors maintained a lead at 76-73.

Hubbard then gave the Dragons back the lead at 79-78 with less than 3:30 on the clock. Edwards extended the lead to 81-78 on the next possession. Pringle once again brought the Warriors within one point at 82-83 with 30 seconds on the clock. With just 9 seconds to go the Dragons forced a foul, putting Edwards on the free throw line. Edwards calmly makes both free throws giving the Warriors the final possession with a 3 point deficit.

In the final nail-biting moments, Hubbard fouled Pringle, sending him to the line. Unfortunately Pringle misses both his attempts. Melton grabbed the rebound and drew a foul to get to the line at the other end of the court. Although Melton split his free throws it was enough to ice the game and despite a last ditch three from Thomas the Dragons grab the win 86-85. 

Quarter scoring: Q1(18-11) Q2(21-21) Q3(26-22) Q4(20-32)

Full-Time: Warriors 85-86 Dragons

Warriors: Thomas - 20. Daniels - 19, Pringle - 19, Smith - 14, Sitepu - 5, Canada - 4, Ristanto - 2, Wuysang - 2.

Dragons: Hubbard - 32, Edwards - 18, Armon - 17, Melton - 11, Ng - 3, Batumalai - 2, Kuppusamy -2, Tautuaa - 1.

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