Slingers win in Kaohsiung 84-66 on the back of seven 3’s from Ng Han Bin
Friday 3 February 2017
The Kaohsiung Truth rode their new and improved zone defense in their twin victories over the Westports Malaysia Dragons and Saigon Heat. However, Slingers Ng Han bin acted as a one-man zone buster for the Singapore Slingers as they scored an 84-66 victory over the Truth, Friday afternoon at the Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School.
Ng came off the bench firing as he led Singapore in scoring with 22 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the three-point arc.
“We knew they were playing zone exclusively in their last two games,” said Slingers General Manager Michael Johnson after the game. “So the guys understood that if we moved the ball around, we’ll get open looks. Hanbin has been working really hard with his shooting and it’s been a long time coming but it’s good to finally see him get that kind of rhythm.”
After a hotly contested first quarter, the Slingers threatened to blow the game wide open in the second period. They led by as much as 19 points, 49-30, after a jumper from Wong Wei Long. Cedric Oliver cut this down to 16 heading into the second half with a three-point play.
A different Kaohsiung squad showed up in the third period as they were aggressive on both ends of the floor. Oliver scored 9 of his 23 points in the third quarter as they outscored Singapore 24-15 in the period to cut their deficit down to just 7 points, 64-57, heading into the fourth.
Ng then took control of the ball game with his outside shooting. The forward his four triples in the final quarter as he found himself wide open thanks to the Slingers’ crisp passing. Singapore led by as much as 22 points in the game as they solidified their hold on the top spot with 9 wins against only 2 losses.
“We were worried about their lineup that had three shooters,” rued Kaohsiung head coach Sabatino Chen after the match. “But we fell behind when they only had one shooter (Ng) on the floor. I don’t know how that happened. Maybe it’s fatigue, maybe it was the quick turnaround, but whatever it was we need to fix it before out next game.”
The Slingers finished with five players in double digits as Howard finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, Xavier Alexander and Wong had 15 each, and Leon Kwek added 12 to back-up Ng’s 22 points.
“We just have to figure out ways to win,” Johnson added after the match. “Few people notice this but we’re actually badly undermanned. Aside from the guys why have doing National Service and school, we just lost Kelvin (Lim) and (Wu) Qingde for the season. With the way we built this team, we wanted the locals to be complimented by the imports and not the other way around, that’s why it’s good to see games like this where the locals play as well as our imports.”
The Slingers now will travel home and prepare to face the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions for the fourth and final time in the elimination round on February 5.