SINGAPORE - There was no champagne or roses for the Singapore Slingers on Friday night (Feb 14) as the hosts were beaten 79-68 by Malaysian side Kuala Lumpur Dragons at the OCBC Arena.
The Valentine's Day match-up between the Asean Basketball League (ABL) teams was the first leg of the Straits Cup, an annual home-away contest between the Causeway rivals.
The home side paid the price for their profligacy, as they made just 10 out of 42 shots in the first half to trail the Dragon 38-23 at the break.
An unanswered eight-point run by the Slingers at the beginning of the third quarter changed the complexion of the game briefly, but the Dragons fought back to claim a 60-40 lead.
Despite outscoring Dragons (28-19) in the final period, the Slingers could not stop the visitors from clinching the victory, 79-68, at the final buzzer.
The win also saw the Dragons leapfrogging their rivals to fifth place in the ABL standings.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said: "We didn't set the tempo at the start of the game and Kuala Lumpur Dragons did a good job - they were hungrier than us.
"It's very disappointing that in the second quarter, we only scored six points. We had easy layups, but we never converted them. After the previous win (against Taipei Fubon Braves) we were laid back and over-confident.
"Defensively, we need to adjust a bit because we allowed them to have easy lay-ups and we didn't hustle, we need to pick up our pace."
Neo will be aiming to improve on his team's season result of six wins and seven losses, adding: "I'm quite disappointed with the whole team's performance, but we need to bounce back on Sunday."
Both sides will play the second leg of the Straits Cup at the Stadium Maba in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.