The Singapore Slingers suffered their first home defeat of the season to the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions at the OCBC Arena on Sunday.
After putting in a convincing win against the Long Lions last month, the Slingers fell to the visitors this time, narrowly losing the game 71-73.
Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander (with ball) in action at the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
Up by 20 points in the third quarter, the home team relaxed their defensive discipline and the visitors took full advantage of that to exact revenge on the Slingers.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang was left disappointed by the performance of his team.
"In the second half when we came out, we mentioned to come out strong, but after a 19 point [sic] lead, we became sloppy again and we didn't protect the ball really well," he said.
"They forced a couple of turnovers and that was what killed us in the second half."
While there were a few contentious calls by the referee during the game, Neo said it was no excuse for their loss.
"We can't do anything much about the referees. They did their call and towards the end, we were not disciplined enough to get through all these things that we needed to," he said.
Singapore Slingers' Mitchell Folkoff (no. 18) and Justin Howard (no. 5) fighting for possession of the basketball. Photo: Sport Singapore
"We are capable of playing through all these things, but the players themselves were not disciplined enough to execute what we were supposed to go and execute the game plan."
In the first half, good defensive discipline kept Long Lions import Marcus Elliott quiet on the scoreboard, but the failure to replicate that in the second half took a huge toll on the Singapore side as Elliott went on to score a game-high of 30 points.
Despite their third loss of the season, the Slingers still remain on top of the ASEAN Basketball League, but that did not provide any consolation for Neo.
"It's not a consolation. We need to get ourselves together. We want to win every game, especially at home, for our fans who come to support."