ASEAN Basketball League

Mario Chalmers clutch as Zamboanga escapes Bangkok for back-to-back ABL wins

Delfin Dioquino
Mario Chalmers clutch as Zamboanga escapes Bangkok for back-to-back ABL wins

IMPACT. Mario Chalmers leads the Zamboanga Valientes to a pair of wins in his first two games.

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Mario Chalmers comes to the rescue in the endgame as the Zamboanga Valientes avoid a major collapse in the ABL Invitational

MANILA, Philippines – Mario Chalmers hit big buckets late as the Zamboanga Valientes outlasted the Bangkok Tigers, 84-80, in the ASEAN Basketball League Invitational in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday, February 6.

The two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat scored 5 of his 11 points inside the final 1:15 minutes that gave the Valientes enough separation to nail their second straight victory.

Buried by as deep as 16 points, the Tigers narrowed the gap to 75-78 before Chalmers knocked down a fadeaway jumper to make it a two-possession lead.

Chalmers then coolly drained 3 straight free throws after Bangkok pulled within 77-80 as Zamboanga stretched its lead to 83-77 with under 15 ticks remaining en route to the squeaker.

Big man Antonio Hester dominated in the win with 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Chalmers added 4 assists and 4 steals in 24 minutes of action.

All of the Valientes’ imports contributed, with Mohamed Sesay putting up 10 points and 5 rebounds as Zamboanga improved to an even 5-5 record going into the final game of the Malaysian leg.

Currently a spot outside the four-team playoff picture, the Valientes still have four remaining games, with the last three to be played in the fourth leg in Vietnam.

Kemark Cariño posted 7 points and 8 rebounds for Zamboanga, while Rudy Lingganay and James Kwekuteye also chimed in 7 points each.

William Vedder Freeman and Angustus Stone finished with 23 and 22 points, respectively, for the Tigers, who dropped to 1-10.

Up next for the Valientes are the third seed Hong Kong Eastern on Tuesday, February 7, before the tournament shifts to Vietnam. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.