By Marcus Chhan
Singapore 26th October 2015
Coach Neo Beng Siang has urged his new look Singapore Slingers team to play without fear ahead of the 2015-16 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season.
The new campaign tips-off on Tuesday night in Thailand with the Slingers set to clash with defending champions Hi-Tech Bangkok City – a huge test for the Singaporeans who will have four local rookies in the team as well as two new imports in their line-up.
Last season’s leading scorer Dior Lowhorn, who averaged 26.3 points per game, was not re-signed and Singaporeans Larry Liew and Russel Low are also not returning to the Slingers roster this year due to National Service commitments for Larry and school pressure for Russel.
But Coach Neo, who led our boys to the ABL Play-offs in 2014, is still eyeing another post-season run.
“Although we are young, we work hard and hustle on every play. That’s a good sign,” he said.
“We are very positive. As a coach I always set high targets for us. As long as everyone gets into our system quickly – especially the imports – we still stand a very good chance.”
Slingers fans will get their first look at their new imports Xavier Alexander and Kris Rosales on Tuesday night.
Alexander, who has played in the NBA D-League previously, will help fill the scoring gap left by Lowhorn’s departure while Kris Rosales is a young exciting point guard from the Philippines.
Both players join fellow import Justin Howard on the roster as he was re-signed by the Slingers following an impressive debut season in Singapore.
Howard was a walking double-double machine in terms of points and rebounds for us but the American’s presence on the floor extends further than his 6-foot-11 frame.
Coach Neo described Howard as an import who is “coachable” and someone who always does his best to help and encourage the locals to reach their potential.
And last season Wong Wei Long was one Singaporean player who definitely showed the region what he can do with the ball in his hands.
The Slingers were proud to see one of our own, Wong Wei Long named as the ABL’s Most Valuable Player – Local for 2014.
“As a Singaporean, I am just happy for him (Wei Long). He proved what he is capable of last season,” Neo said.
The Slingers are away to the Saigon Heat (31st Oct) after Tuesday’s game in Thailand before tipping off their home schedule on Sunday 8th November at the OCBC Arena against the Mono Vampires.