With both teams coming off wins against the Taipei Fubon Braves, the Singapore Slingers and the Kuala Lumpur Dragons will engage in an ABL tradition as they battle in a home-and-home series with the Straits Cup up for the grabs.
The series starts with a game at the OCBC Arena this Friday before it shifts to the MABA Stadium on Sunday.
The Slingers and Dragons are currently deadlocked at the fifth and sixth spots with identical 6-6 win-loss tallies, which makes this set of games even more important as a sweep would allow the victor to head into the top three.
Singapore endured a tough 106-99 overtime victory against the Braves in their last game and the biggest hero of the contest was a local with Leon Kwek showing that he hasn’t lost his touch after a short ABL hiatus.
Kwek scorched hot from the field as he finished with 26 points anchored on seven three-point conversions while adding three rebounds and three assists. Following closely behind were Marcus Elliott and Xavier Alexander who both scored 25 points in the game while combining for 19 rebounds and 15 assists.
Singapore also got double-digit numbers from their bigs as Anthony McClain picked up 12 points with three steals and three blocks while Delvin Goh chipped in 10 markers before fouling out of the game.
The Dragons will come into this match as dangerous opponents for the Slingers as their last two victories have been blowouts against teams near the top. They waylaid San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 91-63 and then defeated the Braves 92-60. These numbers show that they can be explosive on defense but also have a lockdown mentality on defense. Their loss to the Saigon Heat only proved to be a minor mishap as they bounced back in a big way against Taipei Fubon.
McClain will have to find a way to stay in step with Will Artino. The Kuala Lumpur big has been an automatic double-double all-season long for his squad and he is a very smart scorer. He bullies smaller defenders while he uses his speed against the bigger ones en route to averages of 23.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.
Elliott will also have a hug challenge in front of him in Amir Bell who, aside from Alexander, is the biggest threat for a triple-double in the entire league. The heady guard posts impressive numbers of 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per contest.
However, the X-factor for the Malaysian squad is Cade Davis as his team turns into a different monster altogether when he gets his three-point shooting going. He was splendid against the Braves with 21 points in only 25 minutes of action as he shot five on nine from long distance.
The Slingers will have to find a way to hold serve and protect their home-court against the Dragons not only to build a lead in the Battle of the Causeway but also to stake their claim as one of the top teams in the league.