The Adelaide 36ers zipped and zoomed down the floor from the start of the game up until the finish. The Singapore Slingers never backed down, but they knew from the beginning that this was going to be a tough game. The Australian team had beaten the Yulong Luxgen Dinos 104-46 the day before without holding anything back.
The Slingers knew this was coming and they soaked in as much of the experience as they could during those 40 minutes of basketball.
“We just got to be positive and learn from this game as much as we can,” Veteran Ng Hanbin said. “It’s a good opportunity for us because we don’t really have that in past.”
“It’s a very good experience,” Captain Desmond Oh said. “In Singapore, we don’t have this high level of basketball to play against.”
“They are much more physical and much more skilled than us.”
The Adelaide 36ers broke out to a 30-14 lead after the first quarter and they never looked back. Coach Joey Wright was able to spread out the playing time to his players evenly and had 6 players score in double digits. Despite seeing their lead balloon even more and more as the game advanced, the 36ers never let up and played at their intense frantic pace.
“Look at the energy and intensity,” Coach Neo Beng Siang said postgame. “This is what we have to learn.”
“This tournamnet we brought in high-level basketball team. This is what we want to learn. To play againt quality teams, you learn something.”
“Not only the players, but myself as well.”
The loss drops the Singapore Slingers to second in Group B of the Merlion Cup, setting up a Semi-Finals matchup against the top team of Group A, the Shanghai Sharks. While this set back makes their path to the Merlion Championship a bit more difficult, the Slingers know what the big picture for their team is.
“It definitely was an experience,” Xavier Alexander said. He tallied 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in the loss. “We came in and wanted to win the game. They physcialy overwhelmed us at times, but it’s a great learning experience.”
“But we’re working towards something and everyone knows what it is. An ABL Championship.”
This game against the Adelaide 36ers was another giant step towards the bigger goal for the Singapore Slingers and Coach Neo is making the most of the opprtunity.
“I’m trying out different positions,” Coach Neo explains. “I’m trying Delvin [Goh] at the 3. I’m trying to get something out of this tournament: What we want and what we expect. I’m trying the bigs because that’s the advantage for us.
“Delvin at the 3, Russel [Low] at the 4, [Ryan] Wright at the 5, [Xavier] at the 2. We need somebody to control the team then we’ll be fine. We’re trying to do what we can do.”
“We mix and match and see what’s the best for us.”
The game ended in a big victory for the Adelaide 36ers, 95-52. However, if this game happens to be the firestarter that the Slingers needed to get to their ultimate goal, it might be a big victory for them as well.