The Singapore Slingers survived a nail-biting duel against the Macau Black Bears to reach the semifinals of the ASEAN Basketball League with a score of 81-79 on Sunday (April 7).
The Singapore Slingers survived a nail-biting duel against the Macau Black Bears to reach the semifinals of the ASEAN Basketball League. Photo: Sport Singapore
In the largely neck-and-neck battle between the two teams, the Slingers had a confident start but later saw themselves struggling with foul trouble and an aggressive opponents' defence.
While managing to capitalise on free throws and their opponents' poor conversions in the first quarter, the Slingers' lead diminished from a lack of movement and the Bears sharp shooting. A big chunk of point guard Jerran Young's minutes were spent on the bench due to early-game fouls, which the Bears were quick to take advantage of as they drew level and eventually took the lead.
To make matters worse, fellow import Xavier Alexander fouled out in the last 90 seconds of the match, putting pressure on the rest of the team to pull through.
With over a thousand fans cheering them on, the Slingers managed to make up for their mistakes in time with a commitment to teamwork and discipline.
Regaining his composure, Young stepped up for the team in the final period, when both teams were taking turns to score with no streaks. The deciding moment came in the last 30 seconds as he drove through a packed Bears' defence to land a crucial pull-up jump shot that swung the lead 80-79 back to the Slingers' side.
With over a thousand fans cheering them on, the Slingers managed to make up for their mistakes in time with a commitment to teamwork and discipline. Photo: Sport Singapore
At 2.6 seconds left on the timer, a subsequent free throw by big man John Fields and a desperate missed three-pointer by Dewarick Spencer sealed the win for the Slingers and the OCBC Arena erupted into cheer at the final buzzer.
Head coach of the Slingers Neo Beng Siang is confident of his squad as they head for the semifinals: "There's a do-or-die mentality when we're down especially towards the end... I told them to believe in themselves. They actually shot pretty badly, but the determination of the players who stuck together as a team, with their never give up mentality, I'm pretty happy with that. As I've said, so long as we play together, it doesn't matter what's happening, I think we have a very good chance."
They are set to play against the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team on April 12, 2019 at the OCBC Arena for Game 1 of the semifinals. Click here to purchase tickets and watch the Slingers live in action.