The Singapore Slingers extend their winning streak to five games, after edging the Saigon Heat, 78-75, Sunday at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.
Jarren Young fired away 27 points and added seven rebounds. Xavier Alexander poured in 18 points, passing Leo Avenido for third place on the ABL all-time scoring list. The X-Man also had five rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
It was another wild finish in Vietnam as the home team made a furious rally in the last two minutes of the game. The Slingers were in control for most of the contest and even held a 10-point lead, 75-65, with 2:11 to play after Delvin Goh made a layup.
Slowly but surely, the Heat clawed their way back. Young delivered what was supposed to be a backbreaking dunk to push the lead back to eight with a minute and a half remaining. Even then, the Heat scored six straight points in a blink of an eye, highlighted by a gutsy jumper from Tanh Sang Dinh with 14 seconds left off a crucial steal by Chris Dierker. Dinh’s basket was deemed as a long two, making it a two-point game, 77-75, still in favor for Singapore. After nearly committing another turnover, Singapore eventually got the ball to the hands of Alexander who split his charities with 2.9 left. Murphy Burnatowski’s heave at the buzzer missed its mark as the Slingers held on for the victory.
Burnatowski finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but was only 3-for-11 from downtown. Dierker provided solid minutes to end up with 16 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and three blocks.
The two squads were neck-and-neck in the statistical categories. Both shot roughly 40 percent from the field and couldn’t find consistency from beyond the arc. The Heat may have had a 46-38 rebounding edge but it wasn’t enough. The Slingers’ hot start and their 17-9 third quarter scoring provided enough cushion in the endgame.
The Slingers improve to 5-1 in the standings while the Heat fall to 5-3.