Singapore Slingers celebrate their Game 4 win along with a roaring crowd in the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
With seconds to go in regular time and the scores tied, ASEAN Basketball League MVP (Local) Wong Wei Long of the Singapore Slingers hit a clutch two-pointer, beating the buzzer and sending the capacity crowd at the OCBC Arena into a frenzy as the Slingers pushed the series into a fifth game.
Catch the nail-biting moment that led to the Slingers' victory
Coming off Friday’s defeat against the Westports Malaysia Dragons, the Slingers had to win the game in order to take the series to a fifth game decider.
The Slingers got off to a slow start, trailing at the end of the first quarter 17-18, but they picked up the pace in the second quarter off import Justin Howard’s shooting to go into the break 39-36.
However, the Dragons were not to be cowled as they were cheered on by a large contingent of travelling fans and they levelled the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Slingers had the last laugh though, as Wong Wei Long stepped up with eight huge points and the buzzer beater to win the game.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang attributed the win to the extra work the team put in during training after the loss in game three. “We knew that we needed to stop Johnson from scoring from inside the post,” said the former national team coach. “The three small guards were doing well on that (defence)."
With the clock quickly running down and the game tied, Neo called for a time out. He told the players to stick to the game plan and "run their socks off till the very end".
Slingers' Wong Wei Long (C) making the winning shot. Photo: Sport Singapore
After Wong's final second winner, Neo was left pleased with how his instructions were carried out to the T and how the game had played out eventually.
“We wanted to run the clock down and take the shot. Wei Long based on his experience, he had no fear at all he just released the ball and gave us the win," he said.
While the pressure was all on Slinger Wong Wei Long in those last few seconds, he had little doubt that the ball would go in as soon as it left his hands.
“I wanted this win badly… we all have worked so hard. 16-4 in the regular season. This was the last few moments. I really had to step up my game and I managed to make that shot,” he said.
As the Slingers go on the road to face the Dragons in Kuala Lumpur for the decisive Game 5, coach Neo had this final piece of advice for his team, “We need to be mentally strong to the end… we need to believe!”
Missed the game? Catch the highlight of the ABL Playoff Final Game 4