ABL: Warriors clinch second seed

Defending champions the Indonesia Warriors controlled the game from the opening tip-off, defeating the visiting Saigon Heat 82-68 on Wednesday.

Stanley Pringle.

The wire-to-wire victory secured the Warriors the second seed in the ASEAN Basketball League playoffs and home court advantage in the first round.

The Warriors came out of the gate with active hands on defense, causing four turnovers in the first two minutes of play. Heat head coach Jason Rabedeaux called a timeout to steady his squad. Saigon mainstays Jai Reyes and Chris Sumalinog showed signs of life for the Heat, hitting back-to-back corner threes from almost the exact same spot on the floor. David Palmer followed suit with a three of his own to help draw the Heat to within six at the end of the first quarter, despite six turnovers.

The Heat opened the second quarter with a pair of free throws from big man Justin Howard, followed by a runner in the lane from David Palmer that cut the Warriors' lead to two with 8:45 to play before the half. That would be as close as the Heat got the rest of the way. Indonesian local player Amin Prihantono responded to the Heat's run with two three pointers to help grow the lead for the Warriors.

Though the Heat took better care of the ball in the second quarter, they could not overcome five missed shots in a row and two turnovers in the final 2:13 of the second quarter against an Indonesian lineup of four guards and backup big man Swen De Ruijter; the Warriors took a 47-37 advantage into the locker room. Only four Heat players scored in the first twenty minutes of play. The Warriors began to draw away in the third quarter by controlling the offensive glass. The home team recorded ten offensive boards in the period, resulting in eight second chance points. The resulting Warriors' 10-0 run was cut by a Justin Howard field goal with 3:13 to play in the quarter. The Warriors would go into the fourth with a 64-49 advantage over the Heat.

The Warriors began the final period with a turnover, resulting in a David Palmer bucket on the other end to cut the lead to 12. It would be more than three minutes before the Heat would score again. The Warriors continued to shoot, and make, three point shots as their lead swelled to as much as 19. With 1:43 left in the game, Heat reserve Hoang Son Ly scored the first bench points for his team. The Warriors won comfortably by 12, snapping a two game skid.

Reyes paced all scorers with 22. Chris Daniels recorded another double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. After the game, Daniels said the team would like to use the momentum the win created in the playoffs. On his defensive ace import, Warriors head coach Todd Purves said, "He has the aspects we saw when we scouted him: physical toughness, mental toughness and unselfishness-the perfect fit and a big part of our chemistry".

The Warriors look to start another winning streak this Friday when the Singapore Slingers come to town. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports, 8pm HKT. The Heat will travel to Kuala Lumput to take on Westports Malaysia Dragons at MABA Stadium on Sunday for the 3pm HKT.

Quarter scoring: Q1(27-21) Q2(20-16) Q3(17-12) Q4(18-19)

Full-Time: Warriors 82-68 Heat

Warriors: Daniels - 17, Pringle - 13, Smith - 12, Wuysang - 11, Thomas - 10, Prihantono - 9, Canada - 4, Sitepu - 3, Swen - 3.

Heat: Reyes -22, Palmer - 18, Howard - 15, Sumalinog - 7, Ly - 3, To - 3.




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