With career averages of 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, few people would have predicted that Delvin Goh would become a major factor in the Singapore Slingers push for an ASEAN Basketball League championship in 2017.
But that’s exactly what he has become.
Goh, 21, has emerged in the latter stages of this season as a versatile player who is effective at both ends of the floor.
The fifth-year forward starred for the Slingers on Sunday, notching a season-high 12 points in more than 33 minutes of court time in his team’s 10-point Game 1 semifinal win over Alab Plipinas at OCBC Arena.
On offence, Goh knocked down jump shots, drove inside for acrobatic layups, and even cleared house with a one-handed rim rattler that brought Slingers fans to their feet.
On defence, he continued to guard bigger post players inside the paint and displayed that he now has the quickness and agility to match it with smaller, fleet of foot perimeter players.
Over the past seven games of the season, Goh has solidified his starting-five position and played more than 25 minutes a game at the power-forward position, which has freed up Xavier Alexander to spend more time in his preferred swingman role.
His contribution was particularly important in the first half of Sunday’s victory over Alab when frontcourt partner Justin Howard struggled to get going offensively.
Goh looked confident on court, especially when he started taking jump shots that in previous games he would have turned down and looked to pass to a teammate.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang was not surprised by Goh’s contribution on Sunday. “Devlin was amazing in Game 1,” coach Neo said.
“We’ve been thinking that he would be able to contribute a lot for us, and he did so in Game 1.
“The last couple of weeks he’s had some great training, and that’s what we want from him in all our games.”
Goh’s physical fitness has improved immensely this year, and he credits his National Service fitness program as one of the biggest reasons for his improvement this year. “Many people say that I have slimmed down,” Goh said.
“Perhaps that’s why I have become a bit faster and more athletic. But I think the biggest difference is the mindset I’ve had. I’ve been much more positive and aggressive. When I’m on the court I want to take charge more. I had a lot of confidence on Sunday”.
“At training, the coaches have said I’ve been defending well. I’ve been guarding the quicker players like Leon (Kwek) at training and I can play better defence. And training against Justin every day, he’s a big unit, so practising against him helps me to play against the bigger imports from the other teams.”
Goh has played only one road game this season, but he will be available to play in Friday’s Game 2 in the Philippines.
“I haven’t been able to travel that much this year because I’ve been in National Service,” he said. But my course has finished and I’m able to take leave.”
Game 2 of the semifinal series is on Friday at 8.00pm in the Philippines.
Slingers fans can watch the contest live on Starhub Sports Arena (205) and Starhub Mobile Go.
Game 3, if required, will be at OCBC Arena on Sunday at 4.00pm.
Article written by Michael Farrell