The Singapore Slingers have a tough task in front of them as they face off against the second-ranked Taipei Fubon Braves, Sunday afternoon at the OCBC Arena.
Just when it looked like the Slingers were ready to go on a winning streak, they were halted on their tracks by San Miguel Alab Pilipinas. Still, it turned out to be a solid performance from Singapore as they managed to battle back from 16 points down in the game to force an overtime period. However, with the Slingers’ starters playing heavier minutes compared to their counterparts, the home squad simply had more in the extra five minutes as they dealt the Slingers an 86-77 loss.
This brought Singapore down to a win-loss tally of 5-6.
The brightest spot for the Slingers was the performance of Leon Kwek who dropped his biggest scoring total of the year with 19 points in the game, powered by an efficient 5 of 6 from the three-point range.
Kwek led the team in scoring and he was followed by Marcus Elliott with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists. However, the problem with the former ABL World Import – MVP’s performance was that he was miserable from the field, making only 7 of 26 shot attempts. In comparison, their other World Imports in Xavier Alexander and Anthony McClain produced 22 points on a combined 20 shot attempts only.
It was clear that Alab preferred Elliott to be a scorer rather than a play-maker and they took their chance by allowing him to get his looks at the basket but limiting his ability to hit his open teammates.
Delvin Goh also had a strong performance against Alab in their last game with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Singapore hopes that the long break for the Taipei Fubon Braves would lead to a rusty team by the time they battle. The last game of the Braves was way back on January 18 where they were obliterated by Hong Kong Eastern, 105-78.
For the Slingers to have the best shot at a bounce-back victory, the need to find a way to slow down OJ Mayo who has been consistent for the Braves with 22.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. He’s arguably the best three-point threat in the league, averaging 49% from deep.
Singapore also needs to keep an eye on Charles Garcia who has been a consistent contributor all season long for Taipei Fubon with norms of 20.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in the game.
The Slingers also have revenge in their minds as they go up against Maxie Esho, who finished last season by picking up the ABL Championship and the Finals MVP award while celebrating at the OCBC Arena. He has slowly learned the Braves system as he gives them an average of 18.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Braves scored an 83-77 victory against the Slingers in their first meeting so the home team will be raring to level to score.