The Singapore Slingers will look to be the third squad to enter the semifinals, as they go for the series-clinching victory against the Macau Black Bears inside the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center.
The Slingers defended home court with a big victory at the OCBC Arena, riding a hot start in the first quarter to hold strong for the Game 1 victory. The World Imports came to play, as John Fields and Xavier Alexander led the charge against the Black Bears.
It was a classic match of offense vs defense entering this series. The Slingers prevailed, by limiting the Black Bears’ league-leading offense. On offense, Singapore looked like a well-oiled machine, pulling away with a 102-91 victory.
Xavier Alexander, the ABL’s all-time leading scorer delivered another all-around performance, flirting with a triple double of 25 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists. Alexander has proven to be a matchup nightmare for the Black Bears, and they need someone to rise up and slow him down.
Macau, on the other hand, is still reeling from the loss, and have now suffered their third straight loss to the Singapore squad. In order to extend their season, the Black Bears need a breakthrough win for the first time against the Slingers.
The team got a splendid performance from MVP candidate Mikh McKinney, tallying 21 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals. The Slingers’ defense did affect last year’s Heritage MVP into a 8/21 shooting night, however McKinney is too talented to stop on a regular basis.
Though the World Imports for both squads do the heavy load in scoring, local production is as crucial to any series in the ABL. The Slingers showed how excellent performances from players like Delvin Goh and Ng Han Bin in Game 1. Goh tallied 18 points for the Slingers, while Tian Zhongtian was the local leading scorer of the Black Bears with 7 points. The Slingers overall outscored their local counterparts 26 to 15, as the Black Bears were unable to get good production beyond their imports. With Nathan Yu missing Game 1, Jenning Leung and company silent, how will they respond in a must-win situation?