After securing the second seed last week, the Singapore Slingers took their feet off the pedal for Sunday’s match as they looked to give their imports some rest time, and local players more play time.
The home team lost to Saigon Heat 71-88 at the OCBC Arena, allowing their opponents to book a seat in the playoffs.
Singapore Slingers' Wong Wei Long in action at the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
Although the score was even for most of the match, the Slingers fell apart in the fourth quarter when their two big men Justin Howard and Delvin Goh got into foul trouble.
Howard and Goh each picked up four fouls, and this weakened the team defensively as the pair had to be careful of getting sent off.
“We started off pretty well, and in the second half we fell apart,” said Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang.
“Defensively, our two bigs picked up four fouls... so this really killed us on the defensive end.”
The Slingers also had to do without their ace, Xavier Alexander, who was rested for the match due to an injury sustained in the previous game.
“He’s injured so we want to make sure he’s 100 per cent recovered before moving forward to the playoffs,” Neo said.
Singapore Slingers' Justin Howard (right) picked up four fouls during the game. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Even if we get two wins or two losses, it doesn’t bring us to the first spot or drop to the third spot, so we rather save him for the playoffs.”
With the playoffs not far off, Neo’s objective for the match was to give the local players like Leon Kwek, Larry Liew and Delvin Goh more match experience, rather than go all out for a win.
“The thing I’m looking for our local players is to get [them] more court time to get ready for the playoffs.”