The Singapore Slingers lost grip of the Straits Cup for the first time in four ABL seasons but were able to salvage some pride as they emerged victorious in overtime, 88-87, against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons in Game 2 of the series at the MABA Stadium.
It was a hotly contested game with heroes emerging from both sides but the biggest play of the game came from Anthony McClain, who saved the day for Singapore.
It was Xavier Alexander who got the first opportunity to win the game for the Slingers as he was given two free throws with Singapore down by one, 87-86. However, Alexander missed both free throws. The problem for Kuala Lumpur was that Will Artino lost his footing in an effort to box out McClain enabling the hulking center to tip the ball in and push Singapore ahead.
The Dragons had one more chance to win the game in overtime but Alexander sealed the win by getting a steal. He may have been frustrated by the fact that he missed two crucial free throws but Singapore would not have been in that spot it was was not for his game-long brilliance.
Alexander registered another triple-double, his fourth this season and 12th overall in the ABL, with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. Marcus Elliott was right behind him with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists although he fouled out in the fourth quarter.
McClain was outstanding on defense with 17 rebounds and seven blocks to go along with his 14 points while Delvin Goh chipped in a double-double as well with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
After losing in Game 1 of the home-and-away series, Singapore made its adjustments on defense. Specifically, they took out Will Artino from his usual flow on offense. He still managed to compile good numbers with 16 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists but he did not shoot well from the field with six makes in 22 tries. Instead, it was Cade Davis who led the fight for the Dragons with 37 points, his ABL career high. He was spectacular from the three-point range with nine makes in 14 attempts but he was not able to finish the contest as he fouled out.
Amir Bell was also disqualified from the contest due to five personal fouls late in the overtime period and he exited with 18 points and eight assists.
The Slingers needed to win by at least 12 points to keep the Straits Cup on their side of the border and, for a time, it looked like they had the chance to do so. They opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run that gave them a 70-62 advantage. However, they were not able to hang on to this advantage as Davis caught fire late in the fourth. The sweet shooter tied the count at 76-apiece with a straightaway triple to send the game into overtime.
The win allowed the Slingers to cause a logjam from the fifth to the seventh spots in the team standings as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and the Macau Black Bears are all holding 7-7, win-loss tallies.
Both teams will be heading back into action this Wednesday against the top two teams in the league as Singapore takes on Mono Vampire while the Dragons face off against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.