Sunday March 18, 2012
Patriots pip Malaysia Dragons by three points
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Shorn of their star imports, the Westports Malaysia Dragons gave a credible performance but it was not enough to prevent them from sinking to their third straight defeat against AirAsia Philippines Patriots at the MABA Stadium.
Leading by 15 points entering the final quarter, the Dragons were unable to contain Anthony Johnson who had a game high 34 points while former Dragons favourite Nakiea Miller also chipped in with 19 points and 14 rebounds as the Patriots ran out 90-87 winners.
The match started in a promising manner for the Dragons as Asean Basketball League (ABL) top scorer Tiras Wade scored a three pointer straight from the tip-off.
But Wade was forced to leave the match after only seven minutes due to a hamstring injury.
Powerful centre Brian Williams who has managed 10 double double from 11 matches failed to recover from a knee injury and Dragons were forced to make an emergency signing in the form of Donald Little who was released from Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers earlier this month. Little, who only flew in yesterday morning, contributed 11 points and four massive blocks despite playing with the team for the first time.
It was all going for the Dragons until Little was ejected from the match in the fourth quarter and the Patriots took full advantage to nail a slim victory and extend their lead at the top of the table.
“I’m happy with the commitment and effort shown by the players as it was obviously going to be very tough without Williams,” said Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia.
“Then Wade pulled his hamstring. The Patriots outlasted us and we didn’t do a good job on Johnson but the turning point was when Little was sent off.”
The Dragons remained in third spot following the defeat and will travel to Bangkok to take on Chang Thailand Slammers next Sunday.