Basketball: Slingers end fourth after being rattled by Thunders in Merlion Cup, Sharks take title

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Slingers finished fourth while Chinese team Shanghai Sharks won the Merlion Cup, a six-team basketball invitational tournament that made its return after 20 years.

The Slingers, the side representing Singapore, were trounced 94-55 by Korean team Seoul Samsung Thunders in the play-off for third place on Sunday (Sept 25) afternoon at the OCBC Arena.

The Sharks, owned by former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Yao Ming, pipped Philippine team Mighty Sports 78-77 in the dying seconds to lift the trophy.

The earlier game was a one-sided affair, as the Thunders led from start to finish.

The hosts had entered the game less than 24 hours after producing a thrilling performance. They came close to upsetting pre-tournament favourites Mighty Sports but eventually beaten 72-70.

Perhaps feeling drained after the exertions of that game which ended at past 10pm on Saturday, the Slingers looked tired and they misfired badly.

They converted just 19 out of 64 field-goal attempts (30 per cent) in a miserable showing under the rim for the hosts.

As the Slingers faded, the visitors were unstoppable as the lead widened as the game progressed.

Slingers' coach Neo Beng Siang said that the heavy schedule of playing four games in five days was not an excuse for their weak performance.

Rating his cagers' overall performance in the tournament a 4.5 out of 10, Neo said: "We shot badly, we started off sloppily, we did not shoot well, and we fell apart. Today we didn't perform (well), I'm disappointed to let the fans down.

" But it is a good warm-up for us (before the start of the Asean Basketball League season). We are small, we need to work on our team defence and there are a lot of things we need to tidy up."

National player Russel Low added: "Today, we tried to bring up our energy but our shots are not getting in. We lost because we were not getting our rebounds and conceding too many easy turnovers. We need to get this problem sorted out."

For now, the Slingers will be given a break and they will resume training on Oct 15.

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