James Kwekuteye and Zamboanga collapsed in the endgame against NS Matrix, falling 82-86 in the first leg of the 2023 ASEAN Basketball League Invitational, Saturday at OCBC Arena.
The Valientes had a strong start, leading 24-9 and even having an 80-74 cushion with 5:18 remaining.
However, NS Matrix went on a surge to gain an 83-80 lead.
Though Kwekuteye was able to stop the bleeding, Kuek Tian Yuan and Wong Yi Hou were unperturbed from the stripe to seal the win and hand the Valientes their second loss in three games.
NS Matrix, who evened their record to 2-2, was led by Amir Williams with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Tevin Glass got a double-double as well with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Ting Chunhong added 17 markers. Wong Yihou also chipped in 13 points.
Ryan Smith paced Zamboanga with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Antonio Hester also grabbed 14 boards with 17 points while Kwekuteye got 15 markers.
The Valientes end their Singapore leg on Sunday versus Singapore.