With still a handful of games left to play in the regular season of the 2019 ABL season, there are still a lot of possibilities for all the eight teams heading into the playoffs.
For the Singapore Slingers, the prize for winning is clear.
Win the last two games and head to the playoffs with home-court advantage. Lose one and leave the fate for the numbers to decide. Lost both and start the playoffs on the road with only one guaranteed game in Singapore.
That is the challenge now for the Slingers as they take on the Macau Black Bears.
The Slingers lost their last game to the Saigon Heat who were also out to give themselves a shot at finishing in the top four. Singapore dropped to 14-10, just ahead of the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia and the Black Bears who are both at 14-11.
In the first match between Singapore and Macau, the Slingers came out on top but they will be dealing with a much different beast this time around as the squad bounced back nicely after losing one of the leading MVP candidates in Anthony Tucker.
With Mikh McKinney catching fire and Ryan Watkins staying steady inside and out, they found the perfect replacement in Dewarick Spencer who has assimilated very nicely with his new squad, enough to be named the ABL’s Player of the Week.
In only his first week, he normed 34.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 57% from the field and 44% from deep.
While slowing him down will be crucial for the Slingers, they’ll also need to be wary of the returning McKinney and the reliable Watkins.
Against the Heat, Singapore got monster numbers from John Fields with 25 points and 20 rebounds while Xavier Alexander and Jerran Young combined for 26. The problem was that the Slingers were careless with the ball as they turned the ball over 24 times with the three imports combining for 17. Young was also in foul trouble for a huge part of the game, which severely hurt their chances of winning.
Against Macau, every turnover could lead to a McKinney or a Spencer three so they will have to be careful and value every possession.
With the pressure on the three imports to bring it every single game, the locals will have to step up and provide some scoring aside from their ever reliable defense. The Slingers will have to go back to their old calling card of 40 minutes of defense to secure a much-needed win against the fiery Black Bears.