Source: ABL NEWS | Saturday, October 23, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010, Kuala Lumpur – With the reunion of Nakiea Miller & Alex Hartman, The Westports KL Dragons finally snapped a 3-games losing streak and earned their 1st victory of the AirAsia Asean Basketball League 2010/2011season.
The addition of Nakiea Miller to the KL Dragons’s roster might just be what the doctor ordered. The KL Dragons are looking to come off with a victory against the Singapore Slingers in their second home game with a chance to avenge a heart breaking lost to the Slingers in their last meeting. The Singapore Slingers; wearing their red jerseys, looked fired up and ready to cause another upset in Dragons’s lair.
The Dragons won the tip off but it was Desmond Oh from the Slingers that opened up the scoring from beyond the arc. Both teams came out firing from all cylinders but it was KL Dragons’s Rudy 3pointer that gave the Dragons the lead at 11-10 with 5:45 remaining in the quarter. It continued to be a close game throughout the quarter until Slinger’s marksman; Leonidez Avenido tied the game at 17-17 from downtown.
Both teams continued their blistering pace with the Dragons retaining the lead through their suffocating defence in the paint and using their size to hound the board, out rebounding Slingers 10-6. Dragons managed to force a turnover in the final minute but were unable to cash in resulting in a foul on the other end. Slinger’s Jeffers Kyle failed to convert both free throws to cut the lead. Nakiea Miller’s hot hands managed to steal the ball in the final seconds but missed the buzzer beating half court shot. Dragons’s ended the quarter shooting 50% from the field and a blistering 67% from 3 point land.
Looking to continue their hot streak from the first quarter, Dragons opened the 2nd quarter with another 3 pointer from the corner. Both teams however went through a period of drought, failing to convert several attempts on both ends. Slingers however continued their attack and managed to break the drought in the 7th minute through Pathman Matialakan’s basket. Guards Al Vergara and Oh Wei Jie used their speed and agility to attack the basket and creating plays for their other teammates.
Leonidez Avenido tied the with one of his four 3pointers of the night, tying the game at 33. There was some drama on court when Leonidez allegedly stepped on Dragons’s captain Alexander Hartman’s foot causing him to trip, no one was charged with a technical. Slingers managed to regain the lead on Ng Han Bin’s basket but it was the continuous plays and teamwork of Hartman and Miller that kept the Dragons in the game. A miss on the Slingers end resulted in a fast break by Hartman which tied the game at 40-40 with 2:02 remaining in the 2nd.
Hartman continued his work by opening the 3rd quarter with a turnaround jumper in the paint which was followed by a thunderous dunk that got the crowd and his team all fired up. His teammates fed off the energy from the crowd and continued their suffocating defence which led to the Slingers racking up 21 turnovers in the game.
Miller’s presence in the paint forced the Slingers to score from the outside. Slingers however had their marksmen No.18 Leonidez Avenido racking up 23points as well as big man No.24 Marcus Skinner muscling his way though Dragons’s interior defence for easy lay ups. Hartman closed out the 3rd quarter with an isolation play on the top of the key and converting his crossover, bringing the Dragons’s lead to 67-59.
Things got more physical in the early 4th quarter as Miller and Skinner exchanged blows below the basket. It was a close game throughout the 4th as well but Dragon’s own marksman No.34 Patrick jan Cabahug and Miller’s interior plays kept the Dragons ahead. Slinger’s captain was fouled out of the game with 6:02 left in the game on one of Miller’s baseline drive. After getting a much needed rest, Hartman was inserted back into the game to continue his onslaught on the Slingers defence, making them seem flat footed at times.
Skinner however managed to bring his team within 3 points through his turnaround jumper from the baseline with 2:47 remaining in the game but unfortunately again through the stifling Dragons defence, they managed to force a turnover and drew a foul. Miller managed to convert the pair of free throws, making it a 2 possession game. A timeout was called by the Slingers coach for a final push but was nullified again by Miller’s 6th block of the night and Rudy’s free throws which put the game away for good, earning the Dragons their first win of the season.