Refusing to go winless on their home floor, the Singapore Slingers unleashed their brand of basketball to even the ABL Finals best-of-five series with one win apiece.
A balanced effort on both ends helped the Slingers get the 77-57 Game 2 victory over the visiting BTN CLS Knights Indonesia, Sunday, at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
“Defense,” coach Neo Beng Siang aptly said about what was the difference for his squad. “In Game 2 we did a little adjustment on defense. Even on the matchups we swapped some things. We did some adjustments on the press as well. Press, then back to zone, which I think helped us and make them rush their shots.”
True enough, it was Singapore’s work on the defensive end that proved critical. The Slingers limited the Knights to 36 percent shooting, including just 8-for-20 from beyond the arc. They were simply pest on defense, forcing 20 turnovers.
Newly-minted World Import Most Valuable Player Xavier Alexander had his name written all over Game 2 with 16 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, seven steals, and five blocks. His eye-popping numbers were enough to overcome his 4-for-16 shooting from the field.
Jerran Young, who suffered a hamstring injury in Game 1, came off the bench and provided 14 points, including two triples, in 19 minutes of play.
“He’s basically about 60 percent maybe,” assessed coach Beng Siang. “We’re not trying to risk him. If we need him, then we put him in. We try to save him in the long run make sure he recovers up to 80-90 percent.”
Defensive Player of the Year John Fields chipped in with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Slingers also welcomed the timely production of Ng Han Bin as the marksman connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
The Slingers led by as much as 20 points in Game 2, flipping the script of the series after their forgettable Game 1 performance. The Knights tried multiple times to make a comeback but were kept at an arm’s length by buckets from Alexander and Young.
Douglas Herring led a valiant stand from the Knights with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and five steals. Maxie Esho meanwhile scored only half of his points in the previous game to end up with 12 points and seven rebounds. Unfortunately, Esho and Herring combined for 10 of the 20 turnovers of Indonesia.
With the Slingers and Knights knotted up with one win apiece, the series shifts to Surabaya for Games 3 and 4.
“Mentally be prepared. Surabaya is tough,”Beng Siang cautioned. “We need to make sure we stay together no matter what.”