KUALA LUMPUR — After Jason Brickman drilled a 3-pointer to give Westports Malaysia its last taste of the lead with 8:45 remaining in the game, the Dragons went on a virtual hiatus.
Rushing on offense and being unable to run back on defense, the hosts allowed the Singapore Slingers to run away, eventually resulting into an 80-84 loss before a loud home crowd at the MABA Stadium here.
Brickman, who also broke the spell with free-throws more than 5 minutes later, said Malaysia was unable to show composure when it mattered the most.
“We took quick shots,” he said. “I think we were trying to get back into it too quick instead of taking it one play at a time.”
“We were taking a lot of threes and we always took the first shot instead of going inside and making the defense move,” he added.
True enough, the Dragons attempted a bevy of bad shots and then made matters worse by failing to stop the Slingers on the other end.
“I think we got tired,” Brickman, who finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals, admitted. “We only played a few guys. That’s why we can’t get back in transition. I know we can play better.”
The Long Island University product hopes that come Game 2, Malaysia would have solved its foul woes and offensive inefficiency.
After making 45.9% of their shots in the 1st half, the Dragons just sank 11 of 33 in the last 20 minutes, as Singapore’s defense worked double-time in stopping them.
Brickman’s backcourt mate, Matthew Wright, was a perfect example.
The Fil-Canadian swingman scored 20 points in the opening half before getting virtually shut down by Kris Rosales in the last 2 quarters, when he posted just 2 points and missed all his 3-point attempts.
“In the 2nd half, they made adjustments, played good defense,” Brickman added. “It was tough to score. They’re doubling Reggie, they’re taking Matt’s threes. We gotta find a way to score. They did a good job defensively.”
With Game 2 set on Sunday, the Fil-American playmaker will look to lead by example by focusing on the game and not letting his emotions take the best of him.
“We gotta play together. We didn’t play together today. Guys were getting frustrated,” he said. “But we just gotta respond. It’s just one game. And we gonna get ready tomorrow, practice hard and hopefully, get a win in Game 2.” — By Josiah Albelda/Photo from the ABL