Delvin Goh of the Singapore Slingers did not mince words describing his team’s poor play in Game 1 of the ASEAN Basketball League Finals.
“We came out pretty sloppy. I think we were rusty over the two-week break. CLS came in with a five-day rest after their playoff game,” shared Goh as the Slingers last played 15 days ago when they dispatched Hong Kong Eastern in the semis. “That’s not an excuse for us. We’re just gonna pick it up.”
The Slingers, though they had the upper hand in terms of experience, came out flat and a step too slow against the hungry Knights.
“We didn’t run the plays as expected as we did in Hong Kong and Macau in the previous playoff games. I think we’re just gonna adjust, pick it up, and see on Sunday.”
Goh was aggressive in the first half but could not maintain his production in the last two quarters. He finished with 13 points, five rebounds, and three blocks. The 6-foot-7 big man was also tasked the quicker and more agile Maxie Esho, Indonesian’s main gunner.
“He can shoot, he’s long, he can drive, he can dunk the ball, he can do basically everything,” Goh said about Esho, who had 24 points in Game 1. “I’m just gonna try my best to stay in front of him, try not to let him shoot the ball, and not let him get past me. Taking away his three I think is one part I have to do better.”
The Slingers are in the Finals the third time in four years. And in their previous two Finals appearances they’ve won Game 1 on the road. They did it in Malaysia and then did it again in Hong Kong.
Fast-forward to the 2018-2019 Finals, they’re faced with a somewhat unfamiliar territory after being handed a 19-point loss at home versus the Knights. But Goh, who has been with the Slingers for seven seasons, firmly believes that things will go their way.
“It’s a different feeling now. We went on the road two games then we took the first game. Now we’re at home, we lost the first game. Maybe something’s gonna be different, something’s gonna be special and maybe we just take the Sunday game and go to them, take two more games, you never know,” he optimistically said.
“I think coming down 0-1 especially on home court, full house, sold out crowd, I think the Slingers are gonna come out as strong as ever.”