Slingers' slate unclear

Assistant coach sees Howard and Alexander staying but Filipino player to replace Rosales

As the Singapore Slingers look ahead to the Sept 21-25 Merlion Cup and the new Asean Basketball League (ABL) season in November, questions remain over the fate of their foreign imports.

The trio of Filipino-American Kris Rosales and Americans Justin Howard and Xavier Alexander were major contributors to the Slingers' second-place finish in March's ABL Finals but the Slingers have yet to announce their foreign signings for the upcoming campaign - their seventh in the ABL.

Rosales has made the switch to Philippine Basketball Association side Talk 'N' Text Tropang Texters in May, while negotiations to retain Howard and Alexander are still ongoing. But Slingers assistant coach Michael Johnson believes "they should turn out successfully".

He said: "Talks and negotiations are still happening between the various parties but I'm confident they'll end well. The two can be expected to continue with the Slingers.

"Rosales is gone but we do have an eye on a potential import we'd like to bring in. I can't name him yet but what I can say is he's a Filipino guard who plays in the Thailand Basketball League and we've been tracking him for a while.

IN OUR SIGHTS

I can't name him yet but what I can say is he's a Filipino guard who plays in the Thailand Basketball League and we've been tracking him for a while.

MICHAEL JOHNSON, Singapore Slingers assistant coach, on their likely target as a potential foreign import player for the next ABL season.

"There have been negotiations done via a third party but as of now, nothing is confirmed because there are still months to go before the ABL. There's still time."

The Slingers, who will start training for the Merlion Cup in September, will face the likes of the Shanghai Sharks - owned by former National Basketball Association star Yao Ming - and Korean Basketball League's Seoul Samsung Thunders in the tournament's 10th edition at the OCBC Arena.

But captain Desmond Oh relishes the challenge. He said: "Playing against these top teams will prepare us well for the season and improve our standards.

"The team look forward to it and hopefully, we can make it all the way in the Cup."

Building up to the Merlion Cup, a 3-on-3 tournament will commence on Aug 21 and is open to the public. Winners of the men's and women's Open, and the Under-19 boys' and girls' categories stand a chance to win Merlion Cup tickets and also a sponsored trip to the Fiba Asia 2017 tournament.

The winning teams will also represent Singapore and participate in a regional 3-on-3 tournament next year. To register, visit www.bas.org.sg/bas-times/register-for-merlion-cup-3x3

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline 'Slingers' slate unclear'. Print Edition | Subscribe