After four grueling circuits in the elimination rounds, the Singapore Slingers are back in the ABL playoffs
and they will face a very familiar opponent in the Saigon Heat in a best of 3 ABL semi-final series.
Although both teams have played 20 ABL regular seasons matches against one another this will be there
first meeting in the ABL playoffs
The Saigon Heat will go into the 2023 ABL Invitational semi-final series as the favorites after finishing the
elimination rounds as the #1 seed with a league leading 11 win-3 loss record while the Slingers come in
as the #4 seed with a 9 win – 5 loss record. Both team split close regular season matches with the
Slingers coming away with a 1pt win in Batam and the Heat grabbing a late 3pt come from behind
victory in Saigon last week.
The Saigon Heat will be attempting to reach their maiden ABL Finals series while the Slingers will look to
get back for a fourth ABL finals appearance.
Talking about their head-to-head against the Heat, coach Neo Beng Siang said, “We have played each
other to a standstill over the past few months with both games being decided by 3 points or less, and we
expect the semi-finals series to be the same, especially as they have one of the loudest home crowds in
the league and they have home court advantage throughout the playoffs” With both matches between
the Heat and the Slingers in the 2023 ABL Invitational going down the wire, their semi-finals matchup
will surely be epic and close until the final buzzer.
This will also be the first time the Slingers and the Heat will face each other in the ABL playoffs. Coach
Neo said, “Although we have been to the playoffs multiple times we have a different group this season,
we have a mix of Vets in Xavier, Delvin, Kelvin and Ding Loon but our bench is very young with an average
age of only 21 years. Saigon on the other hand have several experienced American players doing the
bulk of the work in their roster”
With so many rookies on the Slingers roster they will be looking for some of their young guns to step up
in these playoffs. Jackson Mah has had some memorable performances at times during the ABL
Invitational and given the opportunity Justen Chiam has also shown glimpses of his raw talent. But it will
be veteran forwards Delvin Goh and Kelvin Lim who will be expected to raise their games to another
level if the Slingers have a chance to take home the big prize.
The Slingers at times showed just how much fire power they have in the roster posting some big
numbers throughout the Invitational series, Kentrell Barkley didn’t look like a newbie, posting triple-
doubles and double-doubles on a regular basis in his first ABL campaign. CJ Gettys has been a double-
double machine and Xavier Alexander has continued to balance the team with his veteran leadership.
While the Slingers may have some individual stars it will be teamwork that could make the dream work
for the Slingers to capture that elusive ABL title. Said Coach Neo, when we play hard, play smart and
play together we have as good a chance to win it all as any other team in these playoffs”.
The Best of 3 semi-finals series between the Singapore Slingers and the Saigon Heat will tip-off at the
Nguyen Du Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on the 6 th March and you will be able to catch all the Singapore
Slingers ABL playoff games live on “Slingers Home Court” Youtube channel for those who won’t be able
to make it to the venue.
Hong Kong Eastern will face off against the NS Matrix (Malaysia) in the other Best of 3 semi-final series