SINGAPORE - The same problems of wastefulness keep returning to haunt the Singapore Slingers as they suffered their fifth loss in eight Asean Basketball League (ABL) games this season on Sunday (Jan 19).
The latest setback came against visiting Thai franchise Mono Vampire, who came away from the OCBC Arena with a 67-65 victory.
It was doubly frustrating for the Slingers as Xavier Alexander's last-ditch attempt to tie the scores went in, only for the umpire to disallow it as the shot had been taken after the buzzer.
There was little argument from Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang. He described it as a fair call but was critical of his team. They had let a six-point lead in the final quarter slip away from them.
Neo said: "Today's loss is ours to blame. We never set the tempo when we were up by six points. We've been facing the same problems, the execution of our offence is not there.
"It's sad, but we need to stay positive as a team."
The Slingers, last season's runners-up, have committed similar mistakes in previous games against Alab Pilipinas and Saigon Heat. They built up a lead heading into the final quarter only to fall short at the end.
Mono led 14-12 after the opening period and the low-scoring pattern continued in the next period even as the hosts edged 30-28 ahead.
Aided by a solid defensive performance from 2.14m centre Anthony McClain, who had a game high 23 rebounds, the Slingers extended their advantage to 47-41 by the end of the third quarter.
But they then struggled with their shooting, converting just five of 21 shots in the final 10 minutes.
Alexander had a team high 17 points but missed three-quarters of his 16 attempts and committed four turnovers. He said: "Mono played good enough defence to come away with the win. We just missed a lot of easy shots on offence.
"Our defence was there, we held one of the best offensive teams in the league to 67 points, so we can't hang our head about that."
Teammate Marcus Elliot had 15 points, three assists and 12 rebounds, while local player Delvin Goh had a decent game with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Mono were paced by Mike Singletary's 24 points and got help from their bench which scored 21 points. The Slingers fringe players combined for just six points.
The Slingers are seventh in the 10-team ABL and their next game is at home against the Heat on Jan 29.
Alexander said: "A break like that is always good. It gives us time to regroup, put our bodies in better shape and repair any injuries.
"It's a long season. We've got many games left. We started off slow but we've seen the potential of our team and how good we can be we've just got to continue to building on that going into this break."