Despite holding on close to the Shanghai Sharks for most of the game, the Singapore Slingers couldn’t overcome the height and offensive power of the Chinese squad losing 89-67.
Guershon Yabusele led the way for the Sharks with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Xavier Alexander and Justin Howard tried to shoulder the load for the Slingers with a combined 39 points and 24 rebounds but fell short.
OCBC Arena roared as Wong Wei Long scored the first three points for the Singapore Slingers who were going up against the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Singaporean basketball fans filled the arena in a lively Friday evening for the last game of the Merlion Cup group phase.
The two teams held their ground defensively early on with neither team being able to break the 10 point mark until after the 7th minute of the game. Both teams would rely on their prolific scorers in the first quarter to get things going. The Slingers got 5 points from local star, Wong Wei Long while the Sharks got their bite from Jimmer Fredette, who scored a total of 9 points. The first quarter ended with the hosts trailing, 16-18.
Fredette, the former National College Player of the Year of the United States in 2011, continued his scoring barrage with 9 more points in the second quarter. His combination of long range shooting and penetration to the basket helped the Chinese side extend their lead out to 31-37 at the end of the first half. The Sharks clamped their Jaws hard on defense, holding the Slingers to only 12 points in the second period.
The Slingers made a run to tie the game at 43-43 almost midway through the third quarter behind a run from their import. As the score got tighter, the game got more physical and the Sharks tried to break away once again. Riled behind the cheers of the home crowd, the Slingers were able to keep the Sharks from going into the fourth quarter with a double digit lead. Going into the 4th quarter, the Sharks still led 61-53.
With Fredette slowing down in the second half, the Sharks continued to get consistent scoring from Guershon Yabusele. The NBA Draft pick’s physicality would prove to be a huge advantage for the Sharks. Both Fredette and Yabusele would be too much for the Slingers to handle, combining for 58 points as the Sharks cruised away with for the 89-67 victory.
The Slingers hold a 1-1 record at the end of the group phase to finish in second place. They will be playing in the Semifinals against Might Sports at 8:30 PM tomorrow.