CALOOCAN CITY, PHILIPPINES – It seems the Slingers won’t be ending the year on a high note.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas handed the Singapore Slingers their second consecutive loss of the season in front of an electric crowd.
The defending champions made it difficult for the visiting squad to get in the paint and attack the basket from the get-go. The gigantic presence of Alab center PJ Ramos underneath was a towering hindrance even for John Fields.
But the Slingers did not fret as they continued to create ways to score in the shaded area and and sink jumpers from mid-range instead. Both teams were going at it immediately from tip-off, with shoulders brushing and bodies bumping aggressively on every play.
Compared to their previous games, the Slingers couldn’t seem to find their shooting stroke this time around, making only four three-pointers out of 14 attempts as the first half ends with Alab taking a huge lead, 43-31.
The number one team in the standings came out of the dugout as energetic as they were in the first half as they made an 8-3 run straightaway, urging Coach Neo Beng Siang to call for an early timeout.
But the Slingers still had tricks up their sleeves as they countered with a run on their own to trim the deficit to seven, 62-55.
Fields tallied 35 big points and seven boards across his name as he led the final charge and got them to within four in the last two minutes of the game. They hung tough but ultimately came up short, falling to a 5-3 win-loss record.
Alab’s late collapse would have been huge for the Slingers had they made all their charities. Free throws have been a recurring issue in their past few games, and last night, the stripe was even more brutal to them as they only made 11 out of 22.
Xavier Alexander notched his fifth career triple-double with ten points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, but Renaldo Balkman stood dominant yet again with 20 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks to lead Alab’s defensive stops.
Meanwhile, PJ Ramos showed everyone why he was called “The Hulk” and controlled the paint in the entirety of the game as he scored 26 and grabbed 17 boards. Not only that, he also led Alab in three-pointers with three.
Owing to their previous five straight victories and Alexander’s recent historic feats, the Slingers just show that they are still a contender for the throne.
The ASEAN Basketball League will be taking a break for the holidays as the games resume on January 2nd with the Saigon Heat and the Westports Malaysia Dragons kicking off the year.
The Singapore Slingers will start off their 2019 campaign against the number two seed Formosa Dreamers on January 6th in Changhua City, Taiwan.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas – Ramos (26), Balkman (20), Parks (18), Tiongson (7), Alvano (4), Rosser (2)
Singapore Slingers – Fields (35), Young (17), Alexander (10), Goh (6), Ng (3)