Our wheelchair basketball team took a night off from training for the upcoming ASEAN Para Games (APG) to watch the Singapore Slingers play Mono Vampire Basketball Club in an ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) game at the OCBC Arena on Sunday.
Our boys on wheels cheered from the sidelines as they witnessed the Slingers take on a struggling Mono Vampire side. Although the Slingers never really got into a scoring groove, their Thai opponents were even more dismal, converting only 38 per cent of their shots from the field.
The Vampires were able to reduce the deficit to five points with 21 seconds to play but the Slingers come out on top with Leon Kwek Wei Meng and Xavier Alexander making important free throws to seal their victory.
Captain of the National Wheelchair Basketball team, Choo Poh Choon said he was impressed with the Slingers’ performance as “the team showed resilience to keep on fighting”.
“I think I did pretty badly on the offensive end but on the defensive end I tried to cover the mistakes that I had,” Slinger Wong Wei Long said after the game.
Wong said the higher level of competition in the ABL has helped him improve tremendously since signing with the Slingers in 2009.
Choo, who watched every game the Singapore national team played in the recent SEA Games, also gushed about both Wong Wei Long and Ng Han Bin and said the national players were his “idols”.
Both Wong and Choo agreed that there were many similarities between both able-bodied and wheelchair basketball. “I have to give it to them. Their arms are really really strong (to be able to shoot from the wheelchair),” Wong said with a laugh.
Choo and his team are currently training three times a week and they are “peaking at the right time” for the APG, he said.
He also added that the roadshows organised by ActiveSG have helped increase the visibility of all para sports, and wheelchair basketball in particular, with members of the public getting a better understanding of the sport.