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Tuesday April 24, 2012

Centre Williams helps Dragons end seven-match losing streak

PETALING JAYA: Westports Malaysia Dragons finally snapped their losing streak thanks to the return of powerful centre Brian Williams.

The 24-year-old Bronx native had set the Asean Basketball League (ABL) alight with his powerful inside play and managed a double double in his first 10 games.

Williams injured his knee in the match against Saigon Heat last month but played through the pain barrier.

The 2.08m Williams even played in the following match against Bangkok Cobras but aggravated the injury and was ruled out for a month.

The Dragons sorely missed his presence as none of the temporary replacements — Donald Little, Cheyenne Moore and Jonathan Smith — was able to live up to Williams’ high standards.

The team duly went on a seven-match losing streak and looked to be in danger of missing the playoffs, living dangerously in fourth place in the league.

But Williams was inspirational on his return last Saturday and grabbed 18 points and 16 rebounds as the Dragons looked to solidify their top four position by beating the Heat 95-75.

“The biggest difference we had against the Heat was the return of Brian,” said veteran forward Nic Belasco.

“It has been a real struggle the last seven games and having him back really helped steady the team a lot.

“I’ve also been working a lot with the coaching staff on offensive drills and moves. With Brian back, I can feel the rhythm coming and, hopefully, it’ll continue,” said Belasco.

The Dragons will take on struggling Bangkok Cobras tomorrow at the Chulalongkorn University and a win will greatly increase their chances of making the playoffs.

Their next home game, on Saturday, is against defending champions Chang Thailand Slammers, who are having a poor season and are rooted to the bottom of the eight-team league.

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