The Singapore Slingers made sure to give their former player a rude homecoming at home
Facing off against legendary import Justin Howard for the first time this season in Singapore, the Slingers captured an 89-86 victory over the Chong Son Kung Fu in the OCBC Arena. The win was the Slingers’ third consecutive, sending the visiting Chong Son squad to their third straight loss.
World Import Chris Charles was a force in the paint, racking up 32 points, 19 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the victory. He attacked Howard relentlessly in the paint all game long, using his length to squeak in shots around the big man of Chong Son.
Howard scored 17 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in his return to the OCBC Arena. He was able to lead the Slingers to two straight ABL Finals appearances alongside current Singapore World Import Xavier Alexander, and was determined to exact revenge on his old squad.
However his former running mate Alexander would not comply, as he shared game-high scoring honors with Charles at 32 points. The X-Man also added 8 rebounds and 7 assists, as he looked to facilitate for the Slingers and get Charles easy shots at the basket.
Chong Son Kung Fu would have the halftime lead at 49-45, led by excellent shooting from Luo Yongxuan en route to 13 points. But Singapore would flip the script in the third quarter, limiting the China-based squad to only 11 points. They would lead by seven points, 67-60 entering the final quarter.
A basket and free from Charles at the 9:01 mark gave Singapore it’s biggest lead at 10 points. But instead of folding, Chong Son would make one final run led by World Import Anthony Tucker. He fired five triples in the fourth quarter, almost singlehandedly keeping his team in the battle. But every Tucker triple in the clutch was answered by Charles in the paint. His triple with 2:47 would get his team to within three points, 83-80, before Charles responded with a layup.
Tucker’s final triple was at the 12 second mark, getting to within 87-86. But a heads-up play from the Slingers on their possession would lead to a wide open Leon Kwek layup, sealing the Slingers victory.
Anthony Tucker was tremendous for the Kung fU in the second half, finishing with 24 points on 6/12 shooting after only scoring one point in the first half. McKinney chipped in with 17 points and 5 assists. Their team drops to 9-5 in the standings, and have to prepare for a grueling schedule that has them competing in three games in five days, beginning with a March 7 battle against the red hot Mono Vampire Basketball Club.
The Slingers climb to to 10-7 in the standings, breathing down Chong Son Kung Fu’s neck at 5th place in a tightening ABL Playoffs race. They were, however, able to clinch a playoff berth.