PETALING JAYA: The Westports Malaysia Dragons have finally snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Singapore Slingers in the Asean Basketball League
The side led by coach Jamie Pearlman silenced the crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium by beating them 79-68 on Valentines’ day (Friday).
Even with the absence of Simon Lepichev and skipper Kuek Tian Yuan, the Dragons did not lose their fire as they showed great defensive discipline to tame the Slingers for the first time in five seasons.
Will Artino (pic) continued his excellent form in the league as he notched a season-high of 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. Cade Davis had 17 points while Amir Bell also had a productive game with 11 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
A gritty performance saw them holding the Slingers to 38 per cent shooting and limited them to only three-pointers.
“Extremely pleased with the team after we went 0-4 against them last season. Taking the first game of the series tonight was a fantastic effort from the team, ” said Pearlman.
“We were so tight defensively, restricting them to only 23 at the half. Our guy’s commitment to defence was just tremendous, and that absolutely set us up for the win.”
The trio of Artino, Davis and Bell have been the core of the Dragons’ team this season as they have lighted up the league with their swashbuckling performances.
With Artino’s size, Bell’s and Davis’ ball-handling skills, the team have found the right balance, but Pearlman further emphasised that it must be supported with consistency.
“All three of them have specific skills and have brought some balance into the team. Artino has been a standout, and Bell is showing his class with his triple-doubles.
“Bell is getting to know the league better, and as a player, he will surely improve. As for Davis, on his night, he is one of the best players in the league.”
The Dragons will face the Slingers again today at the Maba Stadium.
Pearlman’s team have so far recorded seven wins, and six defeats to be placed sixth in the league.
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