ABL: Warriors' title defence off and running

Indonesia Warriors started their 2013 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Playoff campaign with a 72-63 win over Westports Malaysia Dragons at Mahaka Square.

Mario Wuysang

The Warriors now hold a 1-0 lead in this best-of-five Semi-final series.

Stanley Pringle led all scoring with 21 points, John Smith finished with 17 points and Mario Wuysang added 14 points to round up the top scorers from the Warriors side.

Before tip-off, the Dragons received a discouraging news as their import Marcus Hubbard to sit out for thisGame 1 due to an illness. Hubbard's absence was felt in the first quarter as the Dragons were struggling to score the ball. While the Dragons only shooting 29 % from the field in the first quarter, the Warriors took advantage to build their lead. Pringle made a three-pointer with 3 minutes left, giving the Warriors a 16-8 lead.

The Warriors had their first big lead in the second quarter after John Smith drained a three-pointer and Mario Wuysang made a basket with 2:38 left before halftime, building up the Warrior's lead to 33-17.

Down 14 to start the third quarter, Dragons did not help themselves by not taking care the ball on offense. Although they were up double-digits, Warriors players continued to play solid defense and put pressure on the ball handler which led to Indonesia forcing Malaysia to turn the ball over 7 times.

Using an 8-0 run which capped off by field goal from Pringle, Indonesia balooned their lead 60-36 with 53 secondsMelton and Gavin Edwards tried to sparked a comeback early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Malaysia, Warriors players consistently executed their offense. Pringle knocked down a three to maintain the Warriors' lead at 70-49 with 4:10 left in the game. Steven Thomas, who had a monster game on the boards, ensured the Warriors win with his free throws which gave the Warriors a 71-53 lead with 2:53 left. Thomas finished this game with a season-high 21 rebounds.

With the absence of Hubbard, Melton and Edwards led the Dragons offense. Melton finished with 19 points while Edwards had 17 points. Moala Tautuaa contributed 9 points and 8 boards for the Dragons who committed 24 turnovers.

Malaysia will have a chance to bounce back in Game 2 this Sunday at Mahaka Square, Jakarta, for the 3PM HKT tip-off time.

Quarter scoring: Q1(16-10) Q2(22-14) Q3(24-15) Q4(10-24)

Full-Time: Warriors 72-63 Dragons

Warriors: Pringle - 21, Smith - 17, Wuysang - 14, Sitepu - 8, Thomas - 6, Daniels - 4, Canada - 2.

Dragons: Melton - 19, Edwards - 17, Tautuaa - 9, Armon - 8, Ng - 6, Ban Sin - 4.

2013 ABL Playoffs Game Centre

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