Saturday 21st November 2015: San Juan, Philippines
With the Slingers reliable import Justin Howard fouling out with over 2 minutes to play, the Slingers relied on guards Kris Rosales and Wong Wei Long in the closing moments of the game. With the Kings breathing down their necks, Rosales hit some key shots that kept the Slingers in the lead and with their shot clock running out, Wong Wei Long hit a long two to push the Slingers advantage to 67-62 with only 30.4 seconds left. MX3 called a timeout but all they could come up with was a forced three-point shot which Singapore rebounded enabling the Slingers to put the game away from the free throw line.
“Of course I wanted to stay in the game and help my team, but when I fouled out, I knew that my teammates have my back,” said Howard. “We’re playing better and better as a team and we’re getting wins but we know we can play so much better.”
Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 18 points and 8 rebounds while Howard had another double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds. The American imports got a lot of help as Wong Wei Long had a steady 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists performance while Kris Rosales finished with 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Arizona Reid led the Kings with 16 points and 6 rebounds but he struggled from the field, making only 8 of 23 as he ran out of bullets in the second half. Charles Mammie added 11 points while Carlo Sharma added 9.
It was a brave showing for the Pilipinas MX3 Kings as they performed so much better than their last game against Hi-Tech Bangkok City. With more practices with head coach Jack Santiago, the Kings had more rhythm in the game and were right there with the Slinge
The Kings started the first quarter firing as they built an early 7-1 lead, capped by a triple from Sunday Salvacion. The sweet-shooter remained hot throughout the opening canto scoring 9 points with Arizona Reid adding 8 to build a 23-12 advantage for Pilipinas MX3.
Singapore’s offense was stagnant as their two imports combined for 2 of 11 shooting from the field, the Slingers settled down in the second quarter as they went back to their strengths. They pounded the ball down low to Justin Howard as they sliced the deficit down to three points, 32-29 with two minutes left in the first half.
Singapore took the lead for the first time, 33-32, after Xavier Alexander cleaned up after his own miss. Wong Wei Long closed out the first half with a buzzer beater to give the Slingers a 37-34 advantage.
Reid led all scorers at the half with 14 but Singapore’s imports woke up in the second as they combined for 25 points after the first 20 minutes.
Wong opened the scoring in the third quarter but Willie Miller entered the game for the first time and immediately scored for the Philippines for a 39-36 count in Singapore’s favor.
MX3 got the lead back, 43-41, midway through the third quarter as Carlo Sharma completed a three-point play. Sharma then scored two more baskets but the Kings could not defend on the other end as Alexander gave Singapore back the lead, 49-47, with a triple.
Charles Mammie then made his presence felt as they their deficit down to a single point but Howard beat the buzzer with a tip-in for a 55-52 in Singapore’s favor entering the fourth.
The Slingers held on to the lead through the early part of the final period as Kris Rosales heated up from the field but Howard fouled out with 2:26 left, taking away the Slingers’ best threat down low and their main rim protector.
Mammie capitalized immediately as he scored down low to cut Singapore’s lead down to a single point, 63-62 but the Slingers held the Kings scoreless after that.
Xavier Alexander: 18pts, 7rebs, 2 steals
Justin Howard: 16pts, 17rebs, 2 assists
Wong Wei Long: 13pts, 6rebs, 3 assists
Kris Rosales: 10pts, 2rebs, 2 steals
Leon Kwek: 6pts, 2rebs, 1 assist
The Singapore Slingers will continue their run of road trips as they fly to Bangkok to play the undefeated Hi-Tech Bangkok City on November 30. This will be the Slingers 3rd of 6 straight road games before the xmas break.