SINGAPORE - The Singapore Slingers are one game away from returning to the Asean Basketball League finals, after defeating Alab Pilipinas 77-67 in the first game of their best-of-three semi-finals on Sunday (April 2) at the OCBC Arena.
Four Slingers scored double digits, led by American import Xavier Alexander, who collected 26 points, higher than his season average of 18.5 points, and had seven rebounds and six assists.
American centre Justin Howard contributed 15 points, while local players Delvin Goh and point guard Wong Wei Long chipped in with 12 points and 11 points respectively for the hosts.
In front of a sell-out 2,500-strong crowd, the dominant Slingers led after each of the first three quarters.
They even opened up a 15 point lead midway through the final quarter before the visitors attempted to mount a comeback.
But unlike previous games when the Slingers collapsed after having a commanding lead, they held on for the victory.
Slingers' coach Neo Beng Siang was pleased that his team's defence remained tight towards the end. He said: "We did not have many turnovers (nine), which was something that we were struggling with and it cost us throughout the season.
"We emphasise on our defence, because that is our strength."
His team will face Alab next Friday (March 7) in Game Two in the Philippines.