SURABAYA - The coronation of the 2019 Asean Basketball League (ABL) champions will have to wait until Wednesday (May 15) as CLS Knights Indonesia rallied to beat Singapore Slingers 87-74 in Game 4 of the Finals series at the GOR CLS Kertajaya arena on Saturday (May 11).
It is now 2-2 in the best-of-five showdown, and the winner-takes-all Game 5 will be played at the OCBC Arena.
The Slingers actually got off to a flyer in the first period of Game 4 when they raced to a 8-0 lead. But the Knights found their feet to turn the deficit into a 21-18 advantage.
The visitors had to battle some contentious refereeing decisions throughout the game but Brandon Jawato's hot outside shooting helped the Knights extend their lead to 46-34 at half-time.
A breathtaking third quarter ensued in which the Slingers' John Fields, Jerran Young and Larry Liew ran into foul trouble with four each. Knights' key men Maxie Esho and Jawato also reached four fouls but they had already done the damage to help their hosts lead 70-54.
With Fields and Liew fouling out for the Slingers, the Knights were content to run down the clock and made numerous buzzer beaters in the closing stages. With Darryl Watkins (28 points), Esho (20) and Jawato (17) on fire, there was to be no miraculous comeback despite the best efforts of Xavier Alexander (25).
The only consolation for the Slingers is they will have home-court advantage in the rubber game, as they aim to finally win their maiden ABL title.