With all the games in Ho Chi Minh proving to be very crucial for all the teams vying for a spot in the playoffs, the Singapore Slingers notched a big win over the Bangkok Tigers to increase their chances of make it to the 2023 ABL Invitational playoff series, taking down the Bangkok Tigers 121 to 74.
The Slingers came out aggressively on the offensive end in first half but the defensive end was an area that needed improving. That all changed in the 2nd after Bangkok closed the gap to just 7pts and the Slingers defense ramped up pushing their lead from 7pts to 38pts in the 3rd.
While this game would prove to be a crucial game for the Slingers as they continue to push for the playoffs, they continued to rack up the points as all five starters scored in double digits while the bench produced some decent numbers as well.
Kentrell Barkley continued his outstanding form again putting up big numbers for the Slingers after a near triple-double performance finishing with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists while veteran Xavier Alexander continued his all round performance adding 13 points, nine boards and nine dimes. CJ Gettys took full control of the paint as he showed dominance with 25 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists.
The Slingers local player continued to get minutes on a Slingers roster that only features 3 World Imports and no other foreign born players. The young Slingers local players again put up decent numbers helping the team move their record to 8 win – 4 losses. Jackson Mah continued to lead the way for the locals with 14 points and eight rebounds followed by the veteran Delvin Goh with his 13 points, seven rebounds, and some sharpshooting with 75% field goal percentage. Kelvin Lim provided 12 points on a 66% shooting average while Tay Ding Loon scored 10 and a 50% shooting average from long distance.
Despite the win, the Slingers still feel that they have more left in the tank especially that they are coming into the business end of the eliminations. “Although we are happy with the result of tonight,’s game we are not satisfied with our defensive efforts in the first half and we will need to be better in our remaining two games to secure a playoff spot,” said by head coach Neo Beng Siang.
Player of the game Barkley also shared the same sentiments with coach Neo as he said, “Unfortunately we can’t say that with tonights win we have secured a playoff spot. We just have to make sure we finish as strong as possible 3-0 that’s the goal. We just want to approach every game the same and do our best to execute and win.”
It will now be a tougher road to the playoffs as they will be facing the current league leaders and hosts Saigon Heat on the 15th of February at the Nguyen Du Arena in Ho Chi Minh. Saigon Heat drew a sizeable crowd in their first game at home against the Macau Black Bears and already secured the second playoffs spot next to NS Matrix.