The Kuala Lumpur Dragons continued its mastery over the Singapore Slingers, winning 70-67 at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia, as ASEAN Basketball League action resumed once again.
14 days after their last victory in Singapore, the Dragons had the better finishing kick down the stretch, in a tight ball game dictated once again by the gritty defense and tough baskets made under duress. Not even the arrival of new import Jameel McKay could jumpstart Singapore’s season, as they had no answer for a rampaging Will Artino.
The rock-solid World Import had an impressive performance, tallying another double-double of 25 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 block shots. McKay struggled to defend the burly Center, as he was in foul trouble for the majority of the game defending Artino, before eventually fouling out in the crucial stretch of the fourth quarter.
A basket by McKay to start the fourth quarter triggered a scoreless drought between the two teams, as the Slingers held on to a one-point lead, 56-55. But it was Loh Shee Fai that would answer the call for the Dragons, knocking down a triple at the 6:26 mark to restore the lead back to the Dragons.
Both teams traded baskets until the final two minutes before a booming three-pointer from Chin Cheng Wah restored the lead back to the Dragons, 66-64. The home team’s defense proved stout for several possessions of the Slingers, and Simeon Lepichev was sable to stretch the lead to four points via an inside shot off a pass from Will Artino.
The Slingers refused to give up though. Xavier Alexander knocked down a triple to get the Slingers to within one point with 38 seconds remaining. But it would be Amir Bell once again that would hit the toughest shot of the game, as he rose up to hit a step-back jumper that extended the Dragons’ lead to three points with 21 seconds left in the game. The defense of Malaysia held up, forcing Marcus Elliott to launch a desperation triple that had no chance of falling in, giving the Dragons the win over the Slingers once again.
Aside from Artino excellence, several players were able to do enough to help the Dragons pick up the win, led by Cade Davis with 14 points, and Simeon Lepichev with 13. Bell, who only finished with 8 points despite hitting the clutch basket, tallied 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in the contest.
Loh and Chin were also instrumental to their team’s win, as they combined to score 9 points and knock down three triples.
The Slingers were led by Xavier Alexander’s 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Marcus Elliott would have a double-double, tallying 18 points and 13 rebounds. McKay had a quiet debut, finishing with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling.
The struggles continue for Delvin Goh, who was only able to score 4 points on 2 of 5 shooting. Leon Kwek finished with 8 points on poor shooting night of 3 of 14 from the field.
The Dragons won their third straight game, and as a result, climb to 3rd place in the standings with a 10-7 record. The Slingers remain in seventh place after their third loss in a row, dropping to 7-10.