ABL Finals: Vanguardia takes blame for Malaysia game 1 meltdown
KUALA LUMPUR — Westports Malaysia head coach Ariel Vanguardia pinned the blame on himself for the Dragons’ second-half meltdown in a loss to rival Singapore in Game 1 of the 2016 ASEAN Basketball League Finals here.
After a fiery first half, the Dragons cooled off that and went into a five-minute drought in the fourth quarter that allowed the Slingers take control of the game with their lack of resistance on the other end.
“I take full responsibility for this loss. I didn’t make the right adjustments in the second half that’s why we lost,” the Filipino coach told reporters following an 84-80 loss at home. “We gotta sustain our defensive intensity.
‘We limited them to below 40 points in the first half but we weren’t able to do the same in the second half. When the game was on the line, we were down by one point. We needed a stop and we didn’t make the stop. They made a three and that was it.”
Vanguardia was referring to Wu Qingde’s wide-open triple from the right corner with 12.9 seconds left that sealed Singapore’s comeback victory.
Malaysia’s Fil-Canadian shooting guard Mathew Wright had a sensational first half with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field but only had two points the rest of the way.
Vanguardia said Wright played through an injury but the Filipino coach didn’t want to take anything away from Singapore’s game.
“Matthew was like 80% going into this game because of that sprain he sustained in Game 1 [of the semifinals] against Saigon. He played through it but he wasn’t as explosive in the second half. But we gotta credit Singapore. They came here prepared and they came here with a good defensive game plan and they didn’t quit.”
Game 2 of a best-of-five is set on Sunday at MABA Stadium here.