KUALA LUMPUR — The Westports Malaysia Dragons finally claimed its first-ever Asean Basketball League crown with a 77-65 victory over the Singapore Slingers in Game Five of the series on Saturday
at the MABA Stadium here.
Filipino-American point guard Jason Brickman set the tone for the Dragons, finishing with 22 points, including 12 in the first half of the rubber match to help his team capture the 2015-2016 league title.
The Dragons of Filipino head coach Ariel Vanguardia ended their long wait to win the ABL crown, having been one of the pioneers of the Southeast Asian professional basketball league when it was formed in 2009.
“It took a lot of defeats in six years. But now, we are the champions,” said Vanguardia when he addressed the MABA Stadium crowd after the Game Five victory.
Brickman eventually won the Finals MVP for his stellar play after helping the Dragons gain a 37-25 lead at halftime.
Brickman buried three triples in the first half, then hit a two-pointer with 6:59 left in the second period as the Dragons took a commanding 26-11 lead in that quarter, a lead which they never relinquished.
Best world import Reggie Johnson added 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Best Asean reinforcement and Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright contributed 16 markers for the Dragons, who topped the elimination round with a 16-4 win-loss record en route to the title.
Justin Howard pumped in 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Kris Rosales added 22 points for the Slingers, who failed to win the title in their first finals appearance.
Malaysia Dragons (77)—Brickman 22, Johnson 21, Wright 16, Godfrey 13, Shee Fai 3, Kuek 2, Wong 0, Kwaan 0, Ma 0, Wong W. S. 0.
Singapore Slingers (65)—Howard 27, Rosales 22, Goh 5, Alexander 4, Wong W. L. 4, Wu Q. 2, Kwek 1, Oh 0, Toh 0, Ng 0.
Quarters: 16-9, 37-25, 52-41, 77-65.