Two teams with different beginnings to their ASEAN Basketball League season collide, as the Singapore Slingers take on the CLS Knights on November 26 at the OCBC Arena, Singapore.
The Slingers, last season’s runner-up in the ABL Finals lost their first game against Chong Son Kung Fu in disastrous fashion, 83-59. It was a wake-up call that the team has have a lot to work on, particularly without Justin Howard, their force in the paint. Ryan Wright and Xavier Alexander will have to work double time in order to bounce back from the big loss.
Looking to bounce back for Singapore will be World Import Xavier Alexander. The X-Man of Singapore looked a little bit rusty in the first game of the Slingers, as he struggled with the length of Chongson Kungfu. He shot only 5/16 from the field, as defense keyed in on him with the absence of shooters Wu Qingde and Leon Kwek. However, Alexander is a proven player in the ABL, and perhaps the friendly confines of the OCBC will help him get his groove back.
On the opposite spectrum is new Slingers import Ryan Wright, who had a solid debut with the Slingers despite the loss. He played almost the entire game, and put up a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds.
However, his defense has a lot to be improved, as he could not come up with a single block. Kung Fu also scored 36 points in the paint despite the presence of Wright. He will need to do a better job, as both Brian Williams and new import Evan Brock are comfortable attacking the paint.
The CLS Knights on the other hand looked impressive in their 94-73 win over the Formosa Dreamers. They were able to overcome injuries to World Imports Brian Williams and Duke Crews, as local players stepped up to take care of business against the Taiwan-based squad.
With the injury of World Import Duke Crews keeping him out 8-12 weeks, the CLS Knights turned to a familiar face in Evan Brock. The 6’9 big man has already played for an Indonesian team in the ABL, back when the Indonesia Warriors won their championship in 2012.
Brock is a proven presence already, as he has had stops all over the world. He’s a consistent and steady player that the Knights will use to complement their plethora of shooters. He should be a perfect fit for this team.
However the key to CLS’ big win over the Dreamers was the play of their locals, particularly Kaleb Gemilang, the season’s first Local Player of the Week. With Williams and Crews out for most of the second half, Gemilang went to work, as he tallied 14 points on a sparkling 6/9 from the field.
The team also got a big lift from local legend Mario Wuysang. Despite his advanced age, the basketball IQ of Wuysang is still one of the best in the league. Though he can’t score at the rate he does in his prime, he still did a great of quarterbacking the Knights in their win against the Dreamers.
The Slingers are raring to barge into the winning column, while the Knights will look to start a streak early this season. Tune in to ABL action to find out which squad takes the win.