It was a quiet night for the Singapore Slingers, but a raucous one for the visiting Alab Pilipinas, and more so for their Filipino fans.
As a testament to their strong basketball culture, the Filipino fans made sure their voices were heard. They made it seem like a home game for the visitors.
Desmond Oh of the Singapore Slingers drives against James Thomas Hughes of Alab Pilipinas during the ASEAN Basketball League at the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
With a second remaining in regulation, two-time ASEAN Basketball League Most Valuable Local Player Wong Wei Long had a chance to seal the win at the stripe after an untimely Jeric Fortuna foul.
Unfortunately for the home team, he only made one of two free throws, allowing the visitors to steal the eventual 64-62 victory in overtime.
Justin Howard led the Slingers with 28 points, 15 boards and four blocks, but was almost a non-factor in crunch time. The usually efficient Xavier Alexander had a quiet night with nine points and 10 rebounds.
By the look of the numbers, the visitors did not look fantastic. But they were the better team.
Led by Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Lawrence Domingo, the visitors shut down the Slingers offence and strung together Slingers’ turnovers to their advantage.
Lawrence Domingo of Alab Pilipinas goes for a layup against Delvin Goh of the Singapore Slingers. Photo: Sport Singapore
A clearly disappointed Slingers head coach Neo Beng Siang brushed aside perceptions that his charges may be fatigued, and attributed the loss to a lack of aggression.
“There’s no excuse for that. On Saturday, they have a whole day of rest and get themselves recovered and ready for Sunday’s game,” said Neo.
“This is our fourth back-to-back (game). So, basically, for me, this is not an excuse.”
With just six games remaining, the Slingers (10-4) still have a chance to wrestle the top spot from the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions (8-2).
“Nothing much we can do at this moment,” said Neo, whose goal is to top the regular season standings.
“It depends on us, whether we can get ourselves together as a team to bounce back and win the remaining six games.”
The Slingers will get a week’s breather and travel to Kaohsiung to face the Truth on February 19.