SINGAPORE - The Westports Malaysia Dragons grabbed a 2-1 lead in the 2015-2016 AirAsia Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals after a 90-72 win over the Singapore Slingers on Friday at the OCBC Arena.
Reggie Johnson led the Dragons to the road win, starring in a critical 12-0 run in the third quarter that enabled the visitors to pull away for good.
The Dragons will try to finish the series and bag their first-ever ABL crown on Sunday, also at the OCBC Arena.
The series will return to Kuala Lumpur next week if Singapore wins Game Four.
Johnson, the Best World Import of the league, had 34 points and 13 rebounds in the game, including eight straight points in that pivotal third quarter that put the Dragons ahead, 61-49.
“We did a good job and we got back the homecourt,” said Malaysia Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia after the win before a packed hostile crowd at the OCBC Arena. “We now have two chances to win this.”
It was a tight contest all the way until that third quarter by the Dragons, who also got 21 points from Calvin Godfrey and 16 points from Fil-Canadian guard Matthew Wright.
“The score didn’t reflect how tough the game was and how we bled for our points,” Vanguardia said.
Wu Qingde finished with a team-high 19 points for the Slingers, who only got a combined 18 points from imports Xavier Alexander and Justin Howard.
Alexander also fouled out midway through the fourth quarter with the Dragons already ahead by double digits.
Jason Brickman had nine points and eight assists for the Dragons while fellow Fil-American Kris Rosales tallied 12 points but for the Slingers.
Malaysia (90) — Johnson 34, Godfrey 21, Wright 16, Brickman 9, Wong W.S. 4, Kuek 3, Shee Fai 3, Choo 0, Yeo 0, Wong Y. H. 0, Kwaan 0, Ma 0.
Singapore (72) — Wu Q. 19, Alexander 13, Rosales 12, Oh 12, Howard 5, Wong 4, Goh 4, Kwek 3, Ng 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 36-32, 66-51, 90-72.