Leon Kwek exploded for 26 points and Xavier Alexander picked up a triple-double to lead the Singapore Slingers to a testy 106-99 victory against the Taipei Fubon Braves, Sunday night at the OCBC Arena, in what was a thrilling and emotionally charged contest.
The fourth quarter was an instant classic. The Slingers thought that a triple from Kwek, his sixth of the game at that point, was enough to give them the victory as they led 93-90 with 25 seconds remaining. However, the Slingers could not get the stop they needed to finish off the Braves in regulation.
Singapore forced misses from OJ Mayo and Joseph Lin but Taipei Fubon grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds leading to a clean look for Maxie Esho who buried the three to tie the count at 93-all and send the contest into overtime.
With Delvin Goh fouling out early in the fourth, head coach Neo Beng Siang had to play one of the members of his second unit in the most crucial stretches of the match and an unlikely hero delivered for him as Kelvin Lim made a basket in the overtime period to give Singapore a 100-98 advantage.
Confusion then invaded the hardcourt as Anthony McClain was called for a loose ball foul with the Slingers in penalty. Charles Garcia calmly made both free throws but he was the wrong free throw shooter as the foul was drawn by Tseng Wen Ting. This nullified both charities and gave possession back to Singapore, which was met by heavy protest coming from the Braves.
The visiting team was not the same after that point as the Slingers put the game away at the free-throw line.
Singapore is a team not usually known for their three-point shooting but they edged the Braves from the three-point range, making 11 of their 19 attempts, with seven conversions coming from Kwek. Taipei Fubon had nine three-point shots made from 34 attempts.
Alexander grabbed another triple-double for the Slingers with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Marcus Elliott also had a good all-around game with 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists while Sinagpore’s bigs McClain and Goh combined for 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Maxie Esho and Charles Garcia led the fight for the Braves with 25 points each while Mayo added 20.
Singapore is now back at .500 with six wins against six defeats while the Braves hold a 9-5 win-loss tally.
The Battle of Causeway is up next for the Slingers as they take on the Kuala Lumpur Dragons on February 9 at home and on February 12 at the MABA Stadium with the Straits Cup up for grabs.