In the opening game of the revived Merlion Cup at the OCBC Arena, the home team Singapore Slingers held on to a 79-71 win over the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor in front of their loving fans behind an all-around offensive performance. Four players would score in double digits for the Slingers with returning import Xavier Alexander who would shine the brightest with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor of the Super Basketball League in Taiwan pounced on the hosts Singapore Slingers in the very first possession. The Taiwanese side stole the ball and broke away for a lay up. That would be the first two points of the tournament and it put some concern in the home crowd.
They would not have to worry for long though as the Slingers didn’t waste time in settling down and getting back in their groove. It took last year’s ASEAN Basketball League finalists less than two minutes to regain the lead and they never looked back.
Wong Wei Long didn’t miss a step from his back-to-back ABL Local MVP season. He hit 3 three pointers to help his team secure a 45-28 lead at the end of the first half. Lin Wei-Han tried to gain some momentum for Kinmen Kaoliang with a three point shot, but the Slinger’s Alexander was too much to handle as he shot a perfect 5/5 in the second quarter.
The Slingers still held control of the game in the second half and refused to let go. Even though Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor’s import Marcus Melvin got over a slow start, his 26 points and 14 rebounds weren’t enough to will his team to a victory.
Filipino Jeff Viernes had a solid debut as an import for the Slingers. He had a stat line of 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.
The Slinger’s campaign continues when they face the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks on Friday 23rd September at 8:30 PM.