Jai Reyes torched his compatriots with 22 points, pacing Saigon Heat to a tight 92-89 win over San Miguel Beermen Saturday night in the 4th Asean Basketball League (ABL) at the Tan Binh Stadium in Vietnam.
The 25-year-old Reyes, who played for Bangkok Cobras last season, nailed three treys, two clutch freethrows and then added four assists and two steals to back up Saigon’s imports Dior Lowhorn and David Palmer.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Leo Avenido led a last ditch rally by the Beermen and uncorked a three-pointer to pull them within a point, 89-90, with 24 ticks left — but that was the last time last year’s finalists would score.
Gabe Freeman, who missed a go-ahead hook shot with six seconds left and a potential game winner at the buzzer, paced San Miguel with 16 points in the squad’s first setback of the season.
Brian Williams added 14 points and hauled down 16 boards for the Beermen, who even had a series of successful tune up games against PBA squads before going on the road since their opening day win over Indonesia Warriors.
The visiting Beermen had the lead at the third of the third, but back to back triples from Palmer and Reyes gave the Heat an 82-76 advantage three minutes into the fourth period.
Lowhorn and Palmer scattered 27 and 26 points, respectively, and added 12 rebounds each for Saigon, which is off to an impressive start with three victories with just a lone defeat.