The Singapore Slingers came out victorious in the grueling third game of the ASEAN Basketball League Finals against the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia last Wednesday and are now on the verge of winning the series.
The visiting team was poised and resilient down the stretch amidst the raucous crowd inside GOR Kertajaya where the Knights have been dominant, winning 10 games in their backyard during the regular season. Furthermore, the Knights were riding a six-game home winning streak including the playoffs. But the Slingers remained focus in getting the victory despite the jeers and boos from the crowd.
“It showed the mettle of the team,” John Fields said about Singapore’s gutsy road win. “Like the Memphis Grizzlies – grit-and-grind, we showed it.”
The passionate fans of the Knights let Fields and the rest of the Slingers have it in Game 3. The crowd brought out drums, pot covers, horns, and signs in the hopes of distracting the visitors. They cheered loudly in every Knights’ play while raining boos and shouts against the Slingers.
Fields, in particular, is certainly not a crowd favorite on opposing teams’ home courts. Like a gladiator looking for a fight, he invites the taunts and jibes from the crowd. Things were no different in Game 3 as he relished the opportunity to showcase his game.
“The building didn’t intimidate us,” he simply said. The big man was a huge contributor for Singapore, coming up with 16 points and 14 rebounds. He was also a force on the offensive glass, hauling down eight boards.
As the intimidating center for his squad, Fields also did not let up against the tough physical play against Darryl Watkins and the Knights.
“You got to keep it cool. The refs are doing their best job. You know what I’m saying? They’re only human. They’re doing their best job so we don’t fault them,” he calmly said. “If some calls don’t go our way we just keep our head down and keep playing.”
The Slingers have a chance to close out the series on Saturday but Fields doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“Not even thinking about it at all,” he shared on possibly finishing off the Knights in Game 4. “We’re gonna go back here, rest, recuperate, hydrate, and try to just win this Game 4 and have the same mentality like we got our backs against the wall like this game and see if we can bring home the championship. No relaxing.”