MANILA, Philippines – Mario Chalmers debuted for the Zamboanga Valientes and fueled a 92-82 win over the Macau Black Bears in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Invitational in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday, February 4.
Chalmers, who started for the Miami Heat when they won back-to-back NBA titles in 2012 and 2013, churned out 19 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal as the Valientes snapped a three-game skid.
The nine-season NBA veteran shot 3-of-6 from three-point land and tallied a game-high-tying plus-minus of +11 in the convincing victory that saw Zamboanga redeem itself after losing to the Black Bears, 90-78, in January.
Antonio Hester showed the way in the win with team-highs of 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals for the Valientes and Mohamed Sesay posted 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.
While the imports carried the scoring load for Zamboanga, its locals provided ample support, with Rudy Lingganay and Kemark Cariño netting 5 points each in their second-quarter breakaway.
The Valientes led by just a single possession after the opening period, 21-18, before they scored twice as many as Macau in the second frame, 26-13, to build a commanding 47-31 advantage at halftime.
Lingganay put up 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, Cariño tallied 5 points and 6 rebounds, while James Kwekuteye chimed in 9 points and 4 assists.
With Chalmers on board, Zamboanga seeks to turn its fortunes around as it currently resides at joint fifth place in the eight-team tournament with a 4-5 record and just five games left to play.
Only the top four teams will advance to the ABL playoffs.
Dequan Abrom and Isaiah Wade dropped 27 and 24 points, respectively, for the Black Bears, who also tote a 4-5 card.
The Valientes will get a prime chance to climb to .500 as they face the cellar-dwelling Bangkok Tigers on Monday. – Rappler.com
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