After months of breathless anticipation and battles waged on the hardcourt, only two teams remain: Singapore Slingers and the BTN CLS Knights. They dispute the championship in the ninth season of the ASEAN Basketball League, in a series that many are expecting could possibly go the distance.
There’s not much to gleam from the regular season matchups of these two squads, as the Slingers and Knights split the season series with 2 wins a piece. Both teams were able to win games at home and on the road, illustrating just how tight this series could potentially be.
There are no shortage of storylines in this series- from Singapore looking to finally grab the title in their third trip to the Finals, or the Knights going all the way to the big dance in only its second season in the league.
Since day 1, the Slingers have been building to this moment- another chance to finally conquer the ABL. Their previous experiences ended up in heartbreak, losing to Malaysia and Hong Kong in their previous Finals appearances. But the team was on a mission all season long, finishing in third place in the elims, then only losing once in the Quarterfinals and Semis. Will it be different this time around?
Leading the Slingers once again is Xavier Alexander, the heart and soul of the squad. He has been spectacular all season long, and also rewrote several ABL records this season. With averages of 21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.8 assists, the swiss-army knife of the Slingers will look to finally take care of business for his squad.
Looking at the BTN CLS Knights now, it’s hard to believe that the team was one of the worst squads in the league record-wise last year. But little did everyone know that it was only the beginning. With a great set of World Imports plus new local recruits, the Knights turned heads all season long, with the highlight being the thrilling win over Mono Vampire in the Semis to advance to the Finals. The upstarts are looking to go all the way, this quick.
However there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on the link between the Slingers and the Knights- Wong Wei Long. From leading the Slingers as the squad’s MVP and heart and soul, he’s now looking to extend the heartbreak of the Slingers with his new squad.
From Slinger to Knight: Wong Wei Long has written a new chapter in his basketball career. He will enter the OCBC Arena as the enemy, and will look to push the Knights over the edge. He was splendid in his first season with the Knights, though the Slingers have always made it a point to try and limit his production when they match up. What kind of impact will the former MVP have in this series?
Aside from the World Imports matchup, this Finals series will also showcase some of the best locals in the league today. They also enter the series via different backgrounds. While Brandon Jawato has been great in only his first season in the ABL, Delvin Goh is a fixture for the Slingers for several years now. The duo will play a huge role this season, as they look to provide some much needed depth.
It’s an explosive encounter in Game 1, with both teams hungry for glory. A new champion will be crowned in the ABL. Which squad will strike first?