SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force regular had to report for duty on a weekend, but before Larry Liew did so, the shooting guard proved quite the marksman for the Singapore Slingers against the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors on Sunday (Dec 9).
The 25-year-old top-scoring local was red-hot from beyond the arc at the OCBC Arena, draining six of his eight three-point attempts for a career-high 18 points as the Slingers trounced the Asean Basketball League (ABL) cellar dwellers 99-77.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said: "In a game where (Ng) Hanbin and Delvin (Goh) didn't really step up, Larry showed what he is capable of. I'm happy for him, but the target for our locals must be consistency."
Liew had made a total of four treys in the previous three games he had played this season, but had never converted more than 50 per cent of his shots. He credited Sunday's fine form to his team-mates and his own extra shooting practice.
"My team-mates did a great job to create space and open shots for me," he said. "If I missed, they would encourage me, and would scold me if I didn't shoot when I had the chance to, which gave me confidence to just shoot freely.
"We also spent more time on shooting in training this past week, which helped my game today."
The Slingers' American import Jerran Young was crucial in calming their nerves after they went point-less in the opening two minutes.
He then scored his team's first nine points before finishing with a game-high 27 in an all-round display that included seven rebounds, four assists and six steals.
With swingman Xavier Alexander (12 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists) and centre John Fields (19 points and 13 rebounds) dominating the paint, the visitors never stood a chance despite featuring former NBA champion Eddy Curry.
The 36-year-old former Miami Heat centre posted 11 points and 10 rebounds, while point guard Eric Tisby also contributed 23 points, but they were generally well-marshalled until the final quarter.
Neo acknowledged that his team's four-game winning run strengthens their hold on second place behind the Formosa Dreamers (5-0). But the former Singapore coach demanded more from his players, insisting they need to step up if they are to win a maiden ABL title.
He said: "We are happy with the win and momentum, but the energy level was not that great and some players were sloppy as we let our opponents score 77 points. I felt we took it too easy on our defensive end.
"We lost our opener against the Dreamers and defending champions Alab Pilipinas have not played yet, so we really need to improve and play with more intensity than every other team to stand a chance of winning the championship."
Liew added: "I'm sure our rivals have taken notice of us. It's good to go on a winning streak but we can still improve in our transition defence against fast breaks.
"We have a good blend of unselfish quality imports and locals who are stepping up. We just need to continue working hard on our strengths in our defence and I'm sure we will be making a strong push at the end of the season."