SAIGON – Saigon Heat showed why they are a force to reckon with in the 2014 AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League after dominating the Indonesia Warriors, 72-56, in their first game at CIS Stadium, Saigon.
Justin Williams had a dream debut with the Heat with a double-double effort of 16 points and 21 rebounds.
Dustin Scott also contributed 18 points and newcomer David Arnold added 14 for the Heat who scored 40 points in the paint. Veteran point guard Froilan Baguion had an all-around game with 13 points, seven assists and seven steals.
The inexperienced Warriors had a sluggish start, shooting only 25 percent in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Heat had more energy to start this game and a corner three from Arnold gave them a 9-4 lead just three minutes after tip-off.
With only Tremayne Johnson and Chris Barnes on the scoreboard, the Warriors were behind 16-13 in the first 10 minutes.
With six minutes to go before halftime, Baguion showed off his magic by crossing over two defenders for an open layup to put the team up, 28-18. Gunawan and Arki Wisnu tried to spark a comeback for the Warriors after scoring six straight points to cut their deficit to 31-26. But, Arnold was able to stop the Warriors’ run by draining a jump shot right before the halftime buzzer.
The Warriors started the third quarter with a layup from Arki and Hardianus Lakudu to get within three points. But that was as close as the Warriors could get.
Arnold hit a three-pointer in the next possession to spark a 19-3 run for the Heat. Back-to-back layups by Arnold capped off the run and gave the Heat a 52-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
Williams put the finishing touches for the Heat in the fourth quarter. With their team leading by 21 points, Leo Avenido and Williams gave the fans at CIS a show. Off a Warriors turnover, Avenido threw an off-the-board pass to Williams for the epic two-handed slam that had fans off their seats.
In this losing effort, Johnson led the way for the Warriors with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Barnes added 13 points and Gunawan finished with nine points for the Warriors who committed 20 turnovers.
Saigon will play its second game next Saturday when it hosts Laskar Dreya South Sumatra. The Warriors will try to bounce back on Wednesday when they visit Hi-Tech Bangkok.