Godfrey, Wright take charge as Dragons beat Slingers to salvage split at home in ABL Finals
Matthew Wright in action for the Westports Malaysia Dragons. Courtesy of Kuk Thew

KUALA LUMPUR - The Westports Malaysia Dragons beat the Singapore Slingers, 83-67, on Sunday at the MABA Stadium to even the 2015-2016 AirAsia-Asean Basketball League (ABL) finals series to one game apiece.

Malaysia imports Calvin Godfrey, Reggie Johnson, and Matthew Wright got support from the locals in the wire-to-wire victory in Game Two which salvaged a split at home for the Dragons.

The best-of-five title series now shifts to the OCBC Arena in Singapore for Games Three and Four on Friday and next Sunday, respectively.

Johnson had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Godfrey chipped in 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Dragons’ American imports got their usual numbers.

But the Dragons also got plenty of support from the other players, with Fil-American Jason Brickman making a near triple-double of 13 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Wright, who received the Best Asean import award before Game Two, had 12 points, 10 lower than his output in Game One, but nevertheless stood as a vital cog in the victory.

Also contributing was Malaysian Loh Shee Fai, the fifth Dragons player to score in double figures after he got 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range.

Malaysia coach Ariel Vanguardia, however, felt defense enabled the Dragons to hold on in Game Two after blowing a 13-point lead in an 80-84 loss in the series opener on Friday.

“I think we sustained the intensity defensively in the second half. We made crucial stops in transition and we kinda made them an isolation team,” said the Filipino coach.

The Dragons led by 18 points, 58-40, in the third quarter. The Slingers closed the gap to nine points, 68-59, but Shee Fai ended the run with a triple.

The scores:

Malaysia (83) — Johnson 18, Godfrey 15, Brickman 13, Wright 12, Loh 11, Ma 6, Wong Wee Seng 5, Wong Yi Hou 3, Choo 0, Yeo 0, Keuk 0.

Singapore (67) — Howard 24, Alexander 16, Rosales 9, Wu 8, Wong W.L. 7, Kwek 2, Oh 1, Toh 0, Ng 0, Goh 0.

Quarters: 23-18, 41-34, 60-48, 83-67.

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