The Singapore Slingers ended their losing skid in booming fashion, upending the Saigon Heat 87-80 in the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The Heat entered the match as one of the hottest teams in the ABL, winners of four straight games. The Slingers on the other hand have seen its share of struggles as of late, losers of 3 of its last 4 games. However in the friendly confines of the Lion City, the Slingers’ vaunted defense came alive, frustrating the Heat into a tough shooting night.
The Slingers immediately pounced on the Heat, via a scintillating 25-2 run to start the game. Presided over by Xavier Alexander, the Slingers limited the Heat to a solitary field goal, until the Heat’s Murphy Burnatowski knocked down a triple at the 2:41 mark to end the bleeding. Saigon finished with an 8-2 run to trim the deficit to 13 points, 26-13.
The Slingers pushed the lead even further in the second quarter, outscoring the Heat 25-16 to take a 22 point lead into the half. Jerran Young, John Fields and Desmond Oh took turns doing damage for the Slingers, as they looked to pull away for good versus the visiting squad.
But the Heat were not done fighting. After Young’s jumper at the 8:58 mark of the third period made it a 23 point lead for Singapore, the Heat exploded for an emphatic 30-6 run. The final basket, a layup by Trevon Hughes swung the lead to the Heat, leaving the Slingers and its crowd stunned. Delvin Goh would make a layup to give Singapore back the lead at the end of the third quarter, 63-62.
Despite the tough finish to the third, the Slingers pushed forward behind Delvin Goh and Young early in the fourth quarter to restore a four point lead with 6:28 left in the game. Alexander would come up big down the stretch, scoring 10 points in the period alone. With the Heat running out of gas, and the Slingers hitting their free throws down the stretch, it was finally enough for Singapore to prevail and escape the Heat.
Alexander led the way for the Slingers, top-scoring with 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. John Fields also had another tremendous double-double performance of 20 points, 21 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Key for the Slingers’ win was the production of their local veterans in Delvin Goh and Desmond Oh. In a game where the Slingers were unable to generate any points from the bench, Goh had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Oh had a well-rounded 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists .
The Heat were led by Trevon Hughes, tallying 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Kyle Barone had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
The Slingers’ defense held the Heat to only 37% shooting from the field, and 20% from beyond the arc at a 7/34 clip.
The Slingers climb to 8-6 in 4th place in the ABL standings. The Heat are now tied with the Formosa Dreamers for second place, each sporting a 10-5 record.