It was almost a battle of the Thai-American the last time these two teams played, but it was disrupted by quite a few incidents. Both teams will have a chance to rekindle that fire here in Ho Chi Minh City.
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The Saigon Heat are coming off a very impressive victory over the KL Dragons at home. Aside from their season opening loss against the Singapore Slingers, the Heat have looked very good on their home court.
Lenny Daniel is their steady first scoring option while Will Creekmore is their defensive workhorse. David Arnold has been holding down the adhoc point guard duties pretty nicely, although leaving quite a bit to desire for.
Half-Thai, Moses Morgan is coming off an ABL Player of the Week award, with an all-around 22-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist game. Hanh Minh Trieu is also coming off a 13-point, 6-assist game.
Needless to say that the Saigon Heat are primed with confidence and will be playing in front their home court audience, who boasts themselves as the “Best Fans in the ABL”. Never an easy task for any team to come into.
That’s exactly the situation that Hitech Bangkok City will be playing in. Coming off a tough week of playing 2 games in 4 days (not including the Division 1 tournament they played earlier), they will be having to play a third game in a hostile environment.
They lost a game early in the week to the Singapore Slingers in a game where no one was able to get their offense going. The Saigon Heat might look at the Slingers defense to replicate the sort of pressure that got Hitech to shoot only 28%, but they will also have to hope for the Hitech players to have an off day as well.
If there was something that the Saigon Heat didn’t want to see, it was that Hitech Bangkok City bounced back quickly to show their dominant form against the Mono Vampires in the very next game. Hitech weren’t even shooting that well (42%) but they were doing enough on the boards (57.4% of Total Rebounds) and forced turnovers (20 turnovers) to solidify themselves again as the best defensive teams in the league.
Tyler Lamb got back to his groove after that 3-point game off 1-15 shooting against the Slingers. In the Mono Vampires game, Lamb also showed his athleticism to go with his dead-eye shooting to score a game high 26 points for the win.
X-Factor: Moses Morgan
Moses Morgan is a core player of this team, so it might be a bit interesting to peg his as merely a “factor”. But the Saigon Heat’s performance right now relies a lot on him. It he’s making shots, the Saigon Heat look like one of the best teams in the league (like when they beat KL Dragons) but if he’s not finding his stroke, the team suffers (like when they lost to Hitech Bangkok City).
If Morgan can come up huge in this game, he would be getting sweet revenge on his other Thai-American rivals while possibly getting a home victory over Hitech Bangkok City.
PS. There is always the off-chance that Stefan Nguyen could finally make his debut in this game, so he is the ultimate X-Factor if he is going to make the court.
I like the Heat’s form right now, especially when they are playing at home. However, I also like that the Hitech Bangkok City didn’t allow the Singapore Slingers loss to drag them down into further depths. The type of mentality to bounce back is impressive and in a way, essential, for a team looking to defend a championship.
I see Hitech taking this game by 7 points.
Feature Picture Credit: Kuk Onvisa Thewphaingarm