The ABL is set to crown a new champion, as the Singapore Slingers and BTN CLS Knights dispute the crown inside the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The Slingers were unable to win the title on the road, as a determined Knights squad defended their homecourt in Game 4. With Daryl Watkins and Maxie Esho imposing their will, they ensure that there would be no cause for celebration by the Slingers on their home floor.
Playing in front a determined crowd that willed them to a strong finish, the Knights prevailed over the Slingers, 87-74 in the GOR CLS Kertajaya Gym in Surabaya, Indonesia. A misfiring Slingers didn’t help things, as the only shot 33% from the field. The Knights did a much better job of playing unselfish basketball as well in their final home game of the season.
Maxie Esho proved that he’s ready to play in the biggest of stages in the ABL, as he tallied 20 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists for the Knights. He also set the tone with his intensity and energy, which his teammates and home crowd fed off.
The big difference for the Knights was definitely the monster performance of Darryl Watkins. With 28 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks, he absolutely dominated the individual matchup against the ABL Defensive Player of the year John Fields, who was only able to muster 11 points and 10 rebounds. Getting Watkins engaged and dominant like this will go a long way to the Knights claiming the championship in Game 5.
The best local on the floor in Game 4 was Brandon Jawato, who filled the box score with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. The first year ABL showed why he was a top candidate for Local MVP, and why he’s a tough matchup for whichever local will be set to defend him.
One of the few bright spots for the Slingers was the reigning World MVP Xavier Alexander. The X-Man was effective once again, with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Unfortunately for Alexander, he didn’t get enough support which doomed them to the loss.
Jerran Young continues to be an enigma this series, as he’s still hobbled by a hamstring injury that has limited his minutes and production. But despite being in obvious pain, he has soldiered on and still tried to help his team. Will Young continue to come off the bench, or will he leave it all on the floor in Game 5?
The Knights know that they’re going to have their work cut out for them to defeat the Slingers, a squad that’s in the Finals for the third time in four years. Can the Slingers finally grab the title, or will the Knights immediately emerge as champions in their first year in the Finals?
It’s the finale of the ABL season. Are you ready?