For 50 grueling minutes of basketball, The Singapore Slingers and Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team tested each other’s will and mental toughness.
And when the dust settled, it was the visitors that emerged on top.
Hong Kong Eastern survived the challenge from the Singapore Slingers in a tough double overtime game, winning 92-89 in the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The match was an absolute slugfest. Both teams shot below 40% in the game. Hong Kong finished with a 38.1% clip, while the Slingers were even worse with 34.9% shooting from the field. The advantage lay at the free throw line, where Hong Kong shot 29/46 from the charity stripe compared to 26/37 for the Slingers.
It was a game wherein no one seemed willing to seal the deal down the stretch. The Slingers held a slim one point lead entering the final frame, 50-49. But they would have to try and finish thing soff without World Import Jerran Young, who fouled out with 4:52 left in the contest. Despite his absence, the lead ballooned to seven points, as Singapore outscored Hong Kong15-9 entering the final 3 minutes of the contest.
Hong Kong Eastern would not relent. They unleashed a 9-2 run to make a furious comeback, and tie the game. Making things even worse for the Slingers was their second import fouling out, as John Fields’ evening ended by fouling Marcus Elliott at the 39 second mark. After that possession, Hong Kong’s Lau Tsz Lai was fouled on a three point attempt. He would sink two to even things up at 67-all.
But disaster would strike the Slingers, as Hong Kong would grab the rebound, and a foul was whistled on Delvin Goh trying to stop Eric Ferguson. One second remained on the clock, and Ferguson split the charities to give Hong Kong a slim 1 point advantage, 68-67.
The Slingers had a slim chance to redeem themselves. And in an ironic twist, Goh was fouled by Jon Siu and sent to the free throw line. With a chance to win it all for the Slingers, Goh missed the first free throw but made the second, sending the game into overtime.
Singapore started the extra period well, as Larry Liew splashed a triple to give the Slingers a 71-68 lead. Both teams struggled to manufacture any shots, but big baskets from Ferguson and free throws from Elliott restored the lead to Hong Kong, 80-77 with 55 seconds remaining. Goh would be the third player to foul out for Slingers, as he was caught with the foul on Elliott.
Ng Han Bin responded with a booming triple to tie the game with 45 ticks left in OT. But once again, the Slingers were caught fouling, sending Chan to the free throw line where he made one to give Hong Kong a slim one point lead.
Hong Kong would give the Slingers another chance to ice the ballgame, as Jun Yuan Lim was sent to the freethrow line. But all he could muster was a split from the line once again, sending the game to a second overtime.
At this point, both squads looked absolutely spent. Good looks at the basket were few and far between, and the Slingers had a tough task with Xavier Alexander the only World Import left on the floor. Hong Kong capitalized early. Chan made a driving layup and Ferguson four straight free throws for a 87-83 lead at the 3:39 mark. The Slingers were unable to buy a basket until the 1:42 mark, a shot from Kelvin Lim to come to within two points, 87-85.
But Hong Kong put their opponents on lockdown. A steal and coast to coast layup from Lee Ki with 32 seconds left would prove to be the dagger, as the lead was bumped up to six points before settling on the three point margin of victory after an Alexander triple.
Ferguson led the way for Hong Kong with 27 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Lee Ki was also instrumental in the victory, as he came off the bench to chip in 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Slingers were led by Alexander’s 25 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Fields had a solid game before fouling out, as he tallied 25 points and 16 rebounds. The missing piece of the puzzle for the Slingers was Young, as he had a quiet 10 points on 3/11 shooting in 31 foul plagued minutes.
With the win, Hong Kong is back to .500 with an even 4-4 card, currently in sixth place. The Slingers’ 5 game winning streak is snapped, and are currently in 3rd behind San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and the Formosa Dreamers with a 5-2 record.