The Singapore Slingers missed out on the golden opportunity of closing out the series against the Macau Black Bears as they suffered an 80-78 loss, Thursday night at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center.
As compared to their high-scoring initial encounter, scoring was kept to a minimum in Game 2, which should have played perfectly into Singapore strengths. However, they defense was shaky in the third quarter as they allowed the Black Bears to explode for 27 points although they Slingers were not too far behind with 23 as they held on to a one-point lead, 60-59, heading into the final quarter.
In the end, it was a duel between two possible World Import MVP candidates in Mikh McKinney and Xavier Alexander. Singapore’s long time import gave his side the lead as he completed an and-one play for a 77-76 count. However, McKinney quickly countered with a layup on the other side to retake the advantage for Macau.
Alexander was fouled on the very next play but he was only able to manage a split for a 78-78 tie to setup the perfect ending for the Black Bears.
Knowing there were only a few ticks separating the shot clock from the game clock, McKinney wasted away the time. It was either he’d win the ball game or it’ll go to an overtime. Macau employed a high ball screen between McKinney and Ryan Watkins and Singapore responded by switching and putting the bigger John Fields on the guard. McKinney was his chance to use his speed so he blew by his much taller defender to sink the game-winning floater. Alexander tried to help but he was a split-second too late.
McKinney finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds while Watkins and Dewarick Spencer both had 20 points while combining for 21 rebounds.
Alexander led Singapore with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists but his two fellow imports did not shoot well from the field as Fields and Jerran Young combined for 33 points on 11 of 36 shooting. Also absent was Singapore’s hero in Game 1 as Delvin Goh was held scoreless in the game after finishing with 18 points in the series opener.
Game 3 will be on April 7 at the OCBC Arena with the winner moving on to the semifinals to face off against Hong Kong Eastern.