Everything looked like it finally came together for the Singapore Slingers in the third quarter of their road game against the Taipei Fubon Braves. The defense held strong and their offense was firing on all cylinders but they failed to sustain it leading to an 83-77 loss at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
The Slingers were down by double digits, 44-33, at the half but they turned the game around in the third.
Leon Kwek scored seven of his season-high 18 points in a big third quarter rally where the Slingers outscored the Braves 28-16 to take a 61-60 lead heading into the final period.
However, this would prove to be their last taste of the lead as the Braves started the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run that gave the home team a 71-61 lead. Bleeding for points, Singapore once again went to Kwek who delivered a three at the 6:03 mark of the fourth, which was their first field goal of the period.
Things got even more complicated for Singapore when Hung Chih-Shan came off the bench to nail back-to-back triples for Fubon, which stretched their lead to 11 points, 77-66.
Kwek and Marcus Elliott unleashed three triples in the dying minutes of the game to try and get the Slingers back into it but the Braves managed their lead well with well-timed hits from OJ Mayo, Charles Garcia, and Maxie Esho to finish the game off.
Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists while Kwek had an explosive performance with 18 points, bannered by three triples. Elliott added 17 points and 12 rebounds while Anthony McClain also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Missing from the mix on offense was Delvin Goh who only finished with six points but managed to grab 10 rebounds.
Mayo led all scorers with 24 markers on an impressive six of 12 shooting from downtown. Garcia added 22 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and three blocks while Esho debuted with 15 points and eight rebounds for Fubon.
The two big issues for the Slingers against the Braves were their turnovers and shot selection. Elliott only made seven of his 25 shot attempts and he combined with Alexander for 13 turnovers.
The only silver lining for the Slingers was their rebounding prowess as they dominated that stat category 54-35 while also getting a 21-4 advantage in second-chance points. Singapore will have to learn its lesson quickly as they would be taking on another dangerous opponent in the Formosa Dreamers in less than 24 hours.