The Singapore Slingers are one win away from their dream of finally becoming the champion of the league where they are a founding member. The ABL title is up for grabs for the pioneers and they’ll have their first shot of winning it on the road.
Defense has been the name of the game for Singapore as they have severely limited the scoring prowess of the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia in the past couple of games. After an explosive performance in Game 1, the Knights’ have been limited to poor shooting from the field because of the stingy defense of the Slingers.
BTN CLS was limited to 58.5 points in per game in their two losses in this series and not even playing their first ABL Finals game on their home-court could snap them out of it. They had a six-game winning streak in Surabaya and have not lost there in the playoffs but that all ended in Game 3.
A big surprise in the last game was the performance of Jerran Young. After coming off a hamstring injury in Game 1 and playing limited minutes in Game 2, he poured it in from the bench in the third contest and, beyond the numbers, it was the defensive presence that was truly important for Singapore.
Another big reason for the win was the advantage of Singapore in the center spot. John Fields posted a double-double while Daryl Watkins was ineffective from the field. For their offense to flow better, Watkins has to become a presence inside, specially with his scoring. With a post options available, the slashers and shooters will have more opportunities to score.
Veteran ABL imports Maxie Esho and Xavier Alexander are locked in a tight matchup as they both try to lead their teams to the promised land. Esho is a dominant scorer and rebounder but Alexander is a consistent triple-double threat even if he’s been struggling from the field as of late.
Two locals have led the fight for their respective teams in this series. One was expected. The other is quite a surprise. Brandon Jawato is a constant fixture in the offense of the Knights but Ng Hanbin has given coach Neo Beng Siang important contributions from the bench, specially with his three-point shooting.
Wong Wei Long will have have to snap out of his funk as he has not played a good game in the finals thus far. Wei Long can explode from the outside, specially at home, and they will need him to heat up in Game 4.
Douglas Herring has been a consistent contributor for the Knights in the series but, at this point, with nothing happening elsewhere, will have to take a bigger role in their offense. Although he is an able play-maker, he’ll have to be a little selfish to keep their hopes alive.