After a painful loss to Saigon Heat last weekend, the Singapore Slingers bounced back to knock the air out of the visiting Kaohsiung Truth, clinching a convincing 76-52 victory.
Thanks to a balanced effort from the local boys, imports Xavier Alexander (9 points) and Justin Howard (24 points, 15 rebounds) did not need to show up as much as they usually do.
Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander in action at the OCBC Arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
A second quarter showing from Ng Hanbin was the catalyst for the Slingers. The forward was a perfect three of three from the arc to push the Slingers lead to double digits at the half.
The Slingers bench had a more efficient showing as well, tallying 25 points as a unit, compared to the Truth’s 10.
For the Truth, center Derek Hall paced the team with 18 points and 11 boards.
After the game, a relieved Neo Beng Siang sung praises for his charges, attributing the win to their defence.
“I’m more happy about – they’re coming out with good energy and basically throughout the 40 minutes, we need to keep it up towards the playoffs,” said the Slingers head coach.
Singapore Slingers' Justin Howard taking it to the basket. Photo: Sport Singapore
Neo also lamented the Slingers’ struggles on individual defence and highlighted that the team needs to “really work on that as well.”
“As a whole, at least the help-side is there, so it helped, as a team, on defence."
With the win, the Slingers have secured the second seed for the ASEAN Basketball League playoffs, behind table-toppers Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Slingers have more than enough time to recuperate for the upcoming playoffs.
Both games will be against the Heat, which will be played at home next Sunday on March 17 and in Ho Chi Minh the following Sunday on March 25.