Basketball: Shanghai Sharks edge out Singapore Slingers, will face Adelaide 36ers in Merlion Cup final

Ryan Wright (left) of the Singapore Slingers tries for a shot as Zhang Zhaoxu of the Shanghai Sharks blocks him during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on Sept 23, 2017.
Ryan Wright (left) of the Singapore Slingers tries for a shot as Zhang Zhaoxu of the Shanghai Sharks blocks him during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on Sept 23, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
 Luo Hanchen of the Shanghai Sharks in action against the Singapore Slingers during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on 23 September, 2017.
Luo Hanchen of the Shanghai Sharks in action against the Singapore Slingers during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on 23 September, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Leon Kwek (left) of the Singapore Slingers in action against the Shanghai Sharks during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on 23 September, 2017.
Leon Kwek (left) of the Singapore Slingers in action against the Shanghai Sharks during the Merlion Cup semi-final at the OCBC Arena on 23 September, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Despite an inspired performance by American import Xavier Alexander, who scored the most points (26) and rebounds (9) in the game, the Singapore Slingers were defeated 73-67 by defending champions Shanghai Sharks in the semi-finals of the Merlion Cup on Saturday (Sept 23).

There was little to separate the two sides at the OCBC Arena, as the hosts trailed 16-18 in the first period and entered the half-time break three points down at 33-36.

Both teams scored 21 points in the third quarter of what was proving to be a tense last-four clash. But the Chinese team pulled cleared in the final quarter with 16 points to 13 from the Slingers to seal their spot in the final.

In the Adelaide 36ers-Jeonju KCC Egis clash, Australian forward Mitchell Creek starred for the 36ers with a double-double (27 points and 11 rebounds) in their 94-72 victory.

The Sharks will face the Australian side while the Slingers, who finished fourth last year after a defeat by Seoul Samsung Thunders, will once again play a South Korean side - this time Jeonju - in the third-place match on Sunday.

When asked about the prospect of facing the 36ers in the final, Sharks forward Nick Minnerath said: "They're a tough team and we were trying to make it to the final, that was our goal, so we'll get it done tomorrow."