The Singapore Slingers fell short in their fourth and final match of the ABL’s tenth season against the Kuala Lumpur Dragons, 70-67, Friday night at the MABA Stadium. Unlike their first two losses to the Dragons, the Slingers had a really good chance of pulling off a victory but the Dragons hit key baskets in the end game to seal the win.
Xavier Alexander and Marcus Elliott led the Slingers in the match with the former picking up 27 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Elliott added 18 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
The same problem persisted for the two, however, as they did not shoot well from the field. Alexander shot a little bit better than his average of 41% by connecting with 10 shots off his 23 attempts. Elliott shot below his usual as he only had six field goals in 23 tries.
Jameel McKay had a decent debut for the Slingers with 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
It proved to be the start of the turning point of the match as McKay, who came in as a replacement for Anthony McClain who is now in the Slingers’ injured list, fouled Will Artino in an and-one play. This cut Singapore’s lead down to a single point, 64-63, with Ching Cheng then taking the lead for the Dragons on their very next play with a booming triple.
Simeon Lepichev added to Kuala Lumpur’s lead with a sneaky reverse layup off an Artino assist to go up 68-64.
With their backs against the wall, the Slingers leaned on Alexander to get them back into the matchup and he delivered by converting on a triple to cut their deficit to a single point, 68-67. Singapore needed only one stop for a chance at winning the game but they could not find a way to stop Amir Bell as he made a clutch pull-up jumper like he has done so many times for his team this season.
Singapore had one more opportunity to send the game into overtime but their play took too long to develop with Elliott forcing up a tough triple at the buzzer than fell way short of the mark.
Artino has been the biggest problem on defense for Singapore and it continued to be the case as the big man had 25 points and 16 rebounds on 11 of 16 shooting from the field. Lepichev also had an efficient double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds on only seven field-goal attempts.