Two straight stints in the ASEAN Basketball League Finals has left the Singapore Slingers thirsting for more. Although they’ve retained a lot of players from their roster in the past two years, they’ve also changed up their core, saying goodbye to reigning Defensive Player of the Year Justin Howard and former two-time ABL Local MVP Wong Wei Long.
This will put a lot of pressure on the multi-talented Xavier Alexander to play at an MVP level for Singapore to be successful this season.
As Howard’s replacement, the Slingers signed 6-foot-9 Ryan Wright, an international basketball veteran who has played in Ukraine, Mexico, Korea, Turkey, and Hungary. Wright will have big shoes to fill as Howard averaged 21.8 points and 16.4 rebounds per game in his ABL career and he often played all 40 minutes for the Slingers. Although Singapore may have more weapons on offense this season, they’ll need Wright to gobble up the boards.
Two players that Singaporean fans should be excited for are Delvin Goh and Russel Low. The two big men gave a very good account of themselves in the Southeast Asian Games earlier this year as they provided Singapore with two solid options down low. The two can definitely help with the scoring as the young big men have continued to improve by leaps and bounds.
Singapore will also be welcoming back Wu Qingde who was the team’s biggest revelation two seasons ago. The three-point shooting and defensive specialist helped the Slingers make it to the ABL Finals for the very first time but he was unable to build on this surge as he was injured last year. Wu is finally healthy again and he should be one of the top local scorers for Singapore while also being their main defender against wing imports.
As they have done in the past couple of years, Singapore has once again chosen to hire only one Heritage import and, true to form, they hired the services of another guard in the Filipino-Canadian AJ Mandani. The second round selection in the 2012 Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft was not able to make a name for himself in the Philippines but is hoping that a change of scenery can help him inject new life into his career.
The Slingers will also be banking on the scoring ability of Leon Kwek who made a huge leap last season. The young wingman averaged 11.6 points per game while shooting a decent 47% from the field, considering that most of his shots were taken from the mid-range. Kwek will have to step up and be one of the team’s leaders now beside their captain, Desmond Oh.
As they have changed things up for this season, there’s a lot of pressure on Singapore head coach Neo Beng Siang to make sure that they will still function as one unit. The Slingers still have the talent and they should be one of the top contenders in the league as they yearn for another shot at the ABL title.
Singapore Slingers 2017-2018 Opening Day Roster
|Jersey No.||Name||Player Category||Height||Weight||DOB|
|1||JY Lim||Local||5’8″||172 lbs||15-Jan-97|
|2||Desmond Oh||Local||5’8″||169 lbs||16-Jun-86|
|4||Ryan Wright||World Import||6’9″||241 lbs||27-Jan-87|
|6||Tay Ding Loon||Local||6’0″||183 Ibs||15-Jul-94|
|7||Wu Qingde||Local||6’2″||176 Ibs||24-Jun-92|
|10||Leon Kwek||Local||6’3″||176 Ibs||19-Aug-96|
|11||Larry Liew||Local||6’3″||183 Ibs||07-May-93|
|12||AJ Mandani||Heritage Import||5’11”||185 Ibs||27-Feb-87|
|15||Xavier Alexander||World Import||6’5″||210 Ibs||19-Oct-88|
|17||Ng Han Bin||Local||6’4″||189 Ibs||13-Jan-89|
|18||Mitch Folkoff||Local||5’8″||205 Ibs||13-Sep-89|
|22||Kelvin Lim||Local||6’3″||176 Ibs||28-Sep-96|
|23||Delvin Goh||Local||6’7″||202 Ibs||14-Apr-95|
|32||Russel Low||Local||6’6″||231 lbs||30-Apr-93|