Malaysia routs Singapore in game 3, inches closer to ABL crown
SINGAPORE — Westports Malaysia broke away in the second half and trounced Singapore, 90-72, to inch closer to the ASEAN Basketball League crown Friday at the OCBC Arena here.
The visiting Dragons turned a tight first half into a blow out with imports Reggie Johnson pouring 34 big points and Cal Godfrey coming alive late in the game to finish with 21 points.
From 45-all three minutes into the second half, Malaysia started heating up with Johnson hitting from all angles—including a swish from top-of-the-key—to push the Dragons’ lead to double digits, 61-49, for the first time in the contest.
Fil-American guard Kris Rosales tried to rally the Slingers, who were backed with an appreciative home crowd, and pulled them within 59-63 early in the fourth but that was the closest they would get with Xavier Alexander fouling out with six minutes to play.
The Dragons pounced on the dispirited Singapore side and blew the game wide open, leading by as much as 21 points in a stretch highlighted by a couple of above-the-rim highlight reels from Godfrey, who struggled in the first half with just two points.
With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five finals, Malaysia now has a chance to put its rival away on Sunday in Game 4 at the same venue.
“We did a good job and we got back the home court. Now we have 2 chances to win this,” said Malaysia head coach Ariel Vanguardia. “But they Slingers, they won’t quit and I expect them to be back and challenge us. The score didn’t reflect how tough the game was and how we bled for points.”
Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright added 16 points while Fil-American Jason Brickman tossed in nine markers and eight dimes for Malaysia.
The Slingers couldn’t get anything from import Justin Howard, who only finished with five points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes of play, while Alexander had 13 points and seven rebounds before getting five fouls.
Wu Qingde had a good first half for Singapore but was held to just four points in the final two quarters, compounding the Slingers’ woes. He finished with 19.