The Singapore Slingers knew that there was only one game plan that would work against Mono Vampire. As the team is loaded with players who can score, the win could only be picked up if they turned it into a defensive battle.
For the first three quarters of the game, it was played in the Slingers’ style. However, just like what has been the theme for Singapore this season so far, it all turned sour come the final quarter as they absorbed another tough loss at home this time at the hands of the league-leading Mono Vampire, 67-65, Sunday afternoon at the OCBC Arena.
Outscored in the final period anew, the Slingers still had a shot at sending the game to overtime but a last-ditch attempt coming from Anthony McClain refused to roll into the basket, allowing his former team to walk away with the victory.
The defense was tremendous in the first three quarters for Singapore where they only allowed 14, 14, and 13 points. Mono Vampire averages a little under 90 points per game but coach Neo Beng Siang devised a way to keep scoring to a minimum. The Thai squad only made 27% of their 87 shot attempts and their struggles even translated to their free throws as well where they only converted 54% (13 of 24). The problem for Singapore was sustaining its defensive intensity.
The final period was a give-and-take affair with neither team allowing the other to build a big lead. After two McClain free throws forced a 62-all tie, Freddie Lish made the biggest shot of the game as he responded with a triple. Preston Knowles then added two freebies to stretch their lead to five, 67-62.
Marcus Elliott answered with a triple for Singapore which they followed with a stop but McClain could not muscle in the last shot of the game for force an extra period.
Singapore’s starting center struggled from the field with only 11 points of 3 of 14 shooting but he was a big presence everywhere else as he chipped in 23 rebounds and six blocks. Xavier Alexander led the scoring for the Slingers with 17 points while Elliott and Delvin Goh had double-doubles of 15 points and 12 rebounds and 12 and 10, respectively.
Mono Vampire only had two players in double digits with Mike Singletary scoring 24 and Moses Morgan chipping in 10 off the bench.
Singapore will not have more than a week of preparation heading into their next match which will be against the Saigon Heat, on January 29, still at the OCBC Arena.