After a heartbreaking two-point overtime loss to the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions in the previous game, the Singapore Slingers were hoping to bounce back and earn a win from the visiting Alab Pilipinas, and bounce back they did.
Led by double-doubles from world imports Xavier Alexander (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Justin Howard (18 points, 12 rebounds), the Singaporeans held on against their feisty opponents to win 71-68.
Xavier Alexander (with ball) of the Singapore Slingers in action against Alab Pilipinas during their regular season match at the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
This was the second matchup for both teams, and the Slingers only claimed victory by a five-point margin in the previous.
Pilipinas kept the game mostly close, sparked by 15 points apiece from Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Lawrence Domingo and some solid post play from the Lee brothers, who are also known as the Sandrin brothers to some.
While obviously happy with the win, head coach Neo Beng Siang remained pensive.
“It’s a good win, but (there is) still some phobia from the last game,” said Neo, who recalled the loss in Hong Kong.
“I think this win is very important for us to get ourselves more confident going back to Hong Kong and get them this time.”
Neo added: “We need to really stay positive as a team. Don’t be sloppy at any time, and keep playing throughout the 48 minutes.”
Forward Ng Hanbin concurred and reiterated the team’s championship goal.
Ng Hanbin of the Singapore Slingers going for a jumper against Alab Pilipinas. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Letting a game go like this, you know, you have to make a statement in the next game, so I believe that we did this time, shutting down their key players and definitely work step by step towards our championship.”
Neo was also relieved of some pressure with the presence of Delvin Goh, who provided an “extra body” in the paint. The centre is currently serving national service but returned to render his help during his block leave.
The Slingers will head on the road to meet the Eastern Long Lions on Thursday evening and will look to reclaim the top spot in the league.