Singapore Slingers' Desmond Oh (L), Wu Qingde (C) and Krismoir Rosales celebrate after winning the match. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Singapore Slingers knocked out defending champions Hi-Tech Bangkok City 68-60 in a highly defensive playoff match at OCBC Arena on Sunday to book themselves a place in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) final against Westports Malaysia Dragons.
The Slingers put up another convincing performance, following their 95-66 thrashing of Hi-Tech in the second game of the ABL semi-finals, to win two out of the three games needed to advance.
Slingers captain Desmond Oh said he and his team were elated at getting into the finals for the first time in ABL history.
“I’m very, very happy. It’s very great. This is the first time we are entering the finals,” the 29-year-old said.
“I think the whole team feels very great. I am very proud of the team because we really played hard together.”
Singapore Slingers' Desmond Oh in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
This win also proved to be a revenge of sorts and had special significance for the Slingers as they were knocked out by Bangkok at the same stage of the competition last season.
“The imports stepped up big time. We had a lot of running games today and we defended hard,” Oh said, pointing out the key role foreign imports had played in their win.
Slingers import Xavier Alexander, in particular, had an exceptional game with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists.
He was praised by Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang for finding his scoring form again following his last two games where he failed to have much impact going forward.
Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I am pretty happy with X. He actually did a good job in the last two games but he didn’t score so well,” said Neo.
“First game he got nine, and second game he got seven, but he did a fantastic job in defensive rebounds. And today he is the go to man to really score and attack the basket.”
Credit, however, must also go to the Justin Howard and Delvin Goh who shut down the two most dangerous big men in ABL, Bangkok’s Thomas Steven and last season’s MVP Charles Christien.
“I’m very proud that the team shut down the two big, and I think combined the two big only scored less than 20, which is good on them,” Neo said.
Beyond their hard work on the courts, Oh is extremely grateful to the fans and he feels they could not have done it without their support.
“I would like to thank the children from SportCares, the Young Team Singapore Ambassadors, and all our fans out there. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for their support,” he said.