Player of the Week – Justin Howard

The Singapore Slingers emerged from ASEAN Basketball League action with another unbeaten week in the books. They went 2-0 in back to back games against rivals Westports Malaysia Dragons, winning the Straits Cup for the season.

The big reason for the victory? Their man in the middle, Justin Howard. For his towering achievements, the Slingers import is our chosen Player of the Week.

Howard immediately showed why he’s one of the most difficult players to slow down in their victory on the road against the Dragons. Malaysia was playing their first home game of the season, and they wanted to start the new year with a bang. Unfortunately Howard stole the show, as he lit up the Dragons with an eye-popping statline of 26 points, 27 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks. There was really nothing that the Dragons front court led by Skylar Spencer could do to slow him down, as Howard had his way with the opponents, en route to an 81-76 victory.

The scene then shifted to Singapore, inside the OCBC Arena. The Dragons needed to pull off a win to prevent the Slingers from hosting the Straits Cup, and they looked determined to do so.

Led by a red hot Freddie Goldstein, the Dragons and Slingers were locked in a tough double overtime battle before Xavier Alexander hit a running layup to put the Slingers ahead for good, 78-77.

Howard was also big time in that battle, fighting off fatigue to register another double double of 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Though Wong Wei Long and Alexander hit some monster shots, Howard’s presence in the post anchored the Slingers and helped tow them to a huge victory in the season.

Despite playing the most number of games so far this season, the Slingers have been the class of the ABL, and Howard has been a big reason for that success. 

Aside from Howard, there were several outstanding performances in the past week as well. Cedric Oliver came up big for the Kaohsiung Truth, as they registered their first win of the season against the Saigon Heat, 84-83. Oliver finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks in the contest.

Howard’s teammate Wong Weil Long was also rock solid in the win against the Dragons in Singapore, notching 17 points, a season high 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. 

Finally, Alab Pilipinas’ Ray Parks helped continue the team’s mastery of the Kaohsiung Truth as he contributed 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in their 87-77 win against the Truth.