Slingers v Pilipinas Kings 14-2: Xavier Alexander of the Singapore Slingers (C) in action against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Fresh off a 20-point upsetting of the Saigon Heat, the resurgent Kings returned to take on the Singapore Slingers, seeking revenge for their overtime loss a fortnight ago. However, the in-form Slingers had other plans.
The home team romped to a ninth straight 80-58 win at OCBC Arena on Sunday, completing a regular season sweep of the Kings.
For the first time since the 2009/10 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season, things are looking rosy for the Slingers, as they maintained their pole position and improved to 12-2.
Despite the win, head coach Neo Beng Siang did not hesitate to express his displeasure after the game, due to a poor first quarter showing by his charges.
He said, “We started off really sloppy, and I’m very disappointed that we gave them too many opportunities in the first quarter.
“I wasn’t too happy with the performance, so I had to make some adjustments and I’m happy that we came out strong after.”
The Slingers looked bothered by a lack of cohesion and conceded an 11-2 run to the visitors at the start of the game, but Wong Wei Long and Wu Qingde provided a spark off the bench right after to halt the charge.
Slingers v Pilipinas Kings 10-2: Wong Wei Long of the Singapore Slingers in action against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
“When Qingde and I were on the sidelines, we were talking about how we’re going to get some stops and help the team, because we all believe that defence leads to offence,” said Wong, who led the locals with 15 points.
After a breakaway layup by Xavier Alexander and a 3-pointer by Wong with 4:52 to play in the second quarter, the Slingers took their first lead of the game.
From then, they assumed control of the game and never looked back, holding the Kings to just five points in that quarter.
Justin Howard led all scorers with 24 points and 23 boards, while Alexander chipped in 21 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double. Arizona Reid paced the Kings with 22 points.
The Slingers will look to extend their win streak to double digits when they take on Saigon Heat at home on January 31.
“Nobody can stop us now, so long as the team is not overconfident and that is most important,” said Neo.
“Game by game, we just have to follow the game plan, play hard and hustle for every ball.”