The Singapore Slingers were winless against Hong Kong Eastern in the regular season. But now we know that the Playoffs are a completely different story.
Bannered by a dominant defensive performance and red hot shooting, the Slingers took Game 1 of the Best of 3 series over Hong Kong Eastern with an impressive 101-70 win at the OCBC Arena in Singapore
The Slingers lead was as many as 35 points over a struggling Hong Kong squad, which was a shocking situation according to Slingers Coach Neo Beng Siang.
“We didn’t expect that. As a team, we respect the opponents, they have a better team [than they showed today] said Coach Neo. “Today is just unlucky for them- they didn’t make the shots. But i’m pretty happy with my team. They came out with good energy and intensity. they played good basketball on both ends.”
The Slingers opened up a 12 point after the first period on the back of hot three point shooting by Larriy Liew, Ng Han Bin, and an unstoppable John Fields inside. The Slingers’ offense was on point, leading 32-20.
The floodgates opened in the second quarter, as the Slingers surged further and didn’t look back. Singapore finished the quarter with a 15-2 blast, part of a dominating 29-12 period that gave the Slingers a 29 point advantage entering the half.
The rest of the game was a foregone conclusion, as Hong Kong was unable to make any headway in the second half. The Slingers cruised to the victory in dominant fashion to come to within one game of the ABL Finals.
A total of five players finished in double figures for the Slingers, led by Fields. The big man was impressive in his first Semifinals game in the ABL, tallying 29 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. Xavier Alexander flirted with a triple double once again, chipping in with with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 9 rebounds and 11 assists.
Key for the Slingers was its stellar three point shooting led by Han Bin and Liew. The duo both shot 3/5 from beyond the arc. Singapore nailed 9 triples as a team on 56% shooting. According to Coach Neo, it’s indicative of the team’s chemistry and unselfishness.
“I think that’s our best percentage,” the Slingers mentor said. “We played together as a team- everybody trusts each other. hopefully we can keep that up and do a good job.”
Hong Kong’s Michael Holyfield had a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds. O’Darien Bassett was the missing piece for Eastern, as he was locked up by Singapore’s defense with only 9 points on 3/15 shooting.
The series shifts to the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai, as Eastern will look to keep its season alive in Game 2 of the Semifinals on April 17.