Throughout the ABL season, defense has been the name of the game for the Singapore slinger but in their fourth and final elimination round matchup against the Saigon Heat, they were given a dose of their own medicine.
The Heat forced the Slingers to commit 24 turnovers to help them secure am 81-69 victory at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Sunday night. It was Saigon’s lone victory against Singapore this season.
In their first three meetings, Singapore got to great starts, forcing the Heat to burn a lot of energy trying to come back in the ball game. It was very different this time around as the Heat appeared to have learned their lesson. After a 13-13 deadlock to start the match, Saigon went on a 14-2 run to take a 27-15 advantage and they never gave up the lead up until the final buzzer.
Game in and game out, there is so much pressure on the Singapore imports to perform and when they’re bogged down, it usually spells disaster for the Slingers. Unfortunately, this happened against the Heat. John Fields still posted monster numbers with 25 points and 20 rebounds while Xavier Alexander chipped in with 15 points and Jerran Young finished with 11. The problem was that they committed too many turnovers in the game with a combined 17. Young was also in foul trouble for much of the game, preventing coach Neo Beng Siang from playing the import as much as he needed to.
Saigon had four players scoring in double digits led by DeAngelo Hamilton’s 21 points and Trevon Hughes’ 19. However, it was the defensive intensity of these two imports that gave them the edge. Hughes had six steals in the game as he wreaked havoc on Singapore’s ball handlers while Hamilton had three steals and four blocks.
Singapore’s 24 turnovers led to 33 points on the other side for the Heat, which was basically the story of the entire ball game.
It would have been a big opportunity for Singapore to lock up a top four spot but instead they gall to 14 wins against 10 losses with tough assignments in Mono Vampire and the Macau Black Bears left in their schedule. A win in their last two games, specially if it comes at the expense of the Black Bears, could be enough for Singapore to have home-court advantage to start the ABL playoffs.