Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander in action at the OCBC Arena on 8 January 2017. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Singapore Slingers extended their lead at the top of the ASEAN Basketball League after beating the Westports Malaysia Dragons for the second time this week in a double-overtime thriller at the OCBC Arena on Sunday.
The home team edged their northern rivals 78-77 for their fourth consecutive win.
After trailing for the first three quarters due to sluggish movement and poor defending, the Slingers roared back to life when crunch time came in the fourth quarter.
Five points from last season’s Most Valuable Local Player Wong Wei Long in the final minute of regular time brought the match into overtime, where both teams found it difficult to gain any significant lead.
Down six points towards the end of the second overtime period, things started to look bad for the Slingers, but Xavier Alexander, Leon Kwek and Wong fought hard to steal the game back in the dying seconds of the match.
Visibly exhausted after the match, Wong said it was the team’s perseverance that won them the game.
“What got us back is because of our mental toughness. The first three quarters we were pacing ourselves, trying to save energy but that shouldn’t have been the case,” said the 28-year-old who had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Singapore Slingers' Wong Wei Long in action at the OCBC Arena on 8 January 2017. Photo: Sport Singapore
“We didn’t give a lot of things during the first three quarters, but the last quarter we gave it our all.
“We dived for the ball, we drove up to the basket, gave it to our team mates and created a lot of opportunities for individual players.”
While Singapore’s only professional basketball team won the tightly contested match in the end, coach Neo Beng Siang said there were still areas the team needs to work on.
“I am happy with the win, but performance wise, we need to really adjust on that,” Neo said.
“I am not happy with our defensive end and on the offensive end, we hold the ball too long without execution.
“Towards the end, they did their job and basically that is what I want to see more often.”