ABL: Heat losing streak reaches 17

The Saigon Heat fell to a 17th straight loss when they were beaten 71-63 by the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers on Wednesday.

Jai Reyes

The Heat have not won a game in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) since a 92-89 home win over the San Miguel Beermen in late January 2013.

And it looked like they might be able to snatch a win over the Playoff bound Slammers who opted to rest star point-guard Froilan Baguion for Wednesday's clash in Thailand.

However, despite playing without their floor general Baguion, the Slammers' local players scored 42 points to lead their team to an eight point win at Nimibutr Stadium.

Import Chris Charles led the Slammers with 16 points and 17 rebounds, followed by Kannawat Lertlaaokul with 10 points and six assists. Darrius Brannon and Danai Kongkum added nine points each for the Slammers who scored 54 points in the paint.

Saigon had a promising start in this game as they held Thailand to only 21% shooting and forced six turnovers in the first 10 minutes. A three-point shot from David Palmer with two minutes left in the first period gave the Heat a 22-5 lead.

In the second quarter, things went the opposite way and points did not come easy for the Heat. Thailand started to attack the Heat defense and earned 16 points in the paint. Then the home team went on a 12-0 run capped by a dunk from Brannon to cut their deficit to just two points with 1:41 left before the half. However just before the break, Palmer knocked down a three-point shot that stretched the Heat's lead back to 31-25 at halftime.

Thailand continued to attack the paint in the second half, and 14 out of their 22 points came from inside the paint. Saigon did not help themselves and committed nine turnovers in the third period. Then one minute after sinking a three-point shot to put the Heat ahead 44-41, Jai Reyes suffered a relapse of his foot injury. After Reyes went out of the game with 1:24 left, the Slammers went on a 6-0 run to grab the 47-44 lead at the end of the third period.

The fourth quarter saw both teams exchanging the lead but Thailand were determined to head into the playoffs on a high note. Trailing by one point with four minutes left, the Slammers orchestrated an 11-2 run to put the hardworking Heat away. Charles ensured Thailand's 8th win of the season with his dunk at the 1:13 mark which gave the Slammers the 69-60 lead.

Palmer scored 22 points while Howard managed 14 points before fouling out of the game. Larry Tieu added 9 points and Reyes chipped in 7 points for the Heat who allowed Thailand to score 22 fastbreak points.

The undermanned Heat will finish their regular season on Sunday when they host the Westports Malaysia Dragons at Tan Binh Stadium, Vietnam, for the 8PM HKT tip-off.

Meanwhile, the Slammers play again on May 23rd when they take on the San Miguel Beermen in the first semi-final of the ABL Playoffs in Manila.

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