With their backs against the wall, the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia made sure that they’ll live to fight another day.
The Knights unloaded a flurry of game-changing runs in front of their passionate crowd inside GOR Kertajaya en route to a convincing 87-74 victory over the Singapore Slingers, forcing a deciding Game 5.
“We had nothing to lose, all we wanted to do was win tonight to put the pressure on them for Game 5,” said coach Brian Rowsom.
Despite a slow start, the Knights picked up the pace in the middle quarters. They started to create separation in the last four minutes of the second period, turning a five-point edge into a 46-34 lead heading into halftime.
Maxie Esho started the second half with a bank, driving hard to the hoop for a ferocious dunk. The thunderous jam was a prelude of the Knight’s onslaught as they outscored the Slingers, 15-5, in the first five minutes of the quarter to build a 22-point advantage. The back-breaking run included three triples from Brandon Jawato that sent the crowd into bedlam. The Slingers failed to cut the lead to single-digits for the rest of the contest.
“We wanted to attack the paint, get them in foul trouble, we had to make a higher percentage of our inside shots today, we did that,” pointed out Rowsom.
Just as their coach said, the Knights did most of their damage in the shaded area, outscoring the Slingers, 38-24. They also got more rebounds (37) and assists (21) than the visiting team.
Darryl Watkins submitted his best game of the series so far, pouring in 28 points on an 11-for-13 shooting clip as well as 16 rebounds. Esho added 20 points. The Knights also got significant contributions from their locals with Jawato finishing with 17 points, including five treys, and Arif Hidayat chipping in with eight points off the bench.
Xavier Alexander was the lone bright spot for Singapore. The reigning World Import MVP finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The series and the season concludes this Wednesday in Singapore as the Slingers and the Knights dispute the ABL title in Game 5.