With their season on the line, the Macau Black Bears faced the challenge head on and emerged victorious to force a sudden death showdown.
Behind clutch shooting from Mikh McKinney and Dewarick Spencer down the stretch, the Black Bears prevailed over the Singapore Slingers 80-78 at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center in Game 2 of their ABL Quarterfinals matchup. The victory evens up the series, and will force a deciding Game 3 on Sunday in Singapore.
The game was close all throughout, with the biggest lead merely at seven points held by the Slingers. The Black Bears played with a sense of desperation that was evident all game long, and which was ramped up come the final few minutes.
The Slingers held a three point lead with 4 minutes remaining off of free throws from World Import John Fields. But the Black Bears would string together two straight baskets courtesy of Ryan Watkins and Mikh McKinney to take a slim one point lead into the final two minutes of the game.
The teams would trade the lead back and forth, as Dewarick Spencer and Mikh McKinney exchanged baskets with Xavier Alexander in a thrilling test of poise down the stretch. Finally split from the charity stripe tied the game at 78-all with 25 seconds remaining.
That gave the Black Bears a chance to hold for close to the final shot. And with the season on the line, the team went to Mikh McKinney. He scored what would become the winning basket over the outstretched arms of Fields- a swooping floater that gave the the Black Bears the lead with .8 seconds remaining. The Slingers had a chance via a desperation triple attempt from Jerran Young, but it missed the mark and cemented the Black Bears victory.
The Black Bears were led anew by a spectacular performance from Mikh McKinney, delivering time and time again with 25 points, 13 assists and 5 rebounds. When the team needed his big shot making skills down the skills, he did not hesitate to seized control of the moment and save his squad.
McKinney also got excellent production once again from teammates Ryan Watkins and Dewarick Spencer, who each chipped in 20 points. Watkins had 14 rebounds, while Spencer found the range with 3 triples, the last being a clutch basket in the dying minutes to give the Black Bears a two point lead.
The Slingers’ Xavier Alexander led the team with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, while Jerran Young had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 2 steals. The missing piece for the Slingers was local Delvin Goh. After scoring 18 points in Game 1, Goh was held scoreless on 0/2 shooting from the field.
The scene shifts back to the OCBC Arena on April 7, as the Slingers and Black Bears do battle in Game 3 of their Quarterfinals series.