After picking up back-to-back losses on the road, the OCBC Arena should be a welcome sight for the Singapore Slingers as they have a golden opportunity to bounce back against the still winless Saigon Heat.
Even with a 1-3 win-loss record, there’s no cause for panic yet for the Slingers as it is very early in the season. They replaced a lot of parts during the break and it would take some to make everything run smoothly. However, this chance against a team in a similar situation is something that the Slingers need to take advantage of.
The Heat have a new head coach in Kevin Yurkus and although they have one of the Top 10 Greatest Players of All-Time in Chris Charles, their other two imports in Gary Forbes and Sam Thompson are still testing out the competition.
One thing going for Saigon, however, is that they have a bunch of locals who are already used to playing alongside each other. A handful of their players were also part of Vietnam’s national team that won the bronze medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, only behind the Philippines and Thailand.
An issue they’d have to address is how to balance out their possessions and allow their locals to also shine. In their first game of the season against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons, their imports took 52 shot attempts while the locals only for 18. This is after a breakout performance coming from Chris Dierker in the Southeast Asia Games where he really showed he is one of the top talents in the region. However, in their first two games, he has only averaged 2.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
In the Slingers’ twin road losses, their three imports definitely did their part. The problem was that, against the Braves, Leon Kwek exploded with 18 points while Delvin Goh only had six markers. The opposite happened against the Dreamers where Goh had 17 but Kwek was limited to only three.