Basketball: Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang blasts 'embarrassing' 86-67 loss to Knights in ABL Finals opener

Delvin Goh (white jersey, number 23) fights for the ball with Maxie Esho (purple jersey number 18).
Delvin Goh (white jersey, number 23) fights for the ball with Maxie Esho (purple jersey number 18).ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - If the Singapore Slingers are to win their first Asean Basketball League title, they will have to do it the hard way after they relinquished home-court advantage with a 86-67 loss to CLS Knights Indonesia at the OCBC Arena on Friday (May 3).

With their previous game coming more than two weeks ago in the semi-final win at Hong Kong Eastern, Neo Beng Siang's men found it hard to shake off the ring rust in Game 1 of the best-of-five Finals series in front of 2,900 fans.

The Knights, on the other hand, were able to build on the momentum from Sunday's win over Mono Vampire as they raced to an 8-0 lead from the start.

The Slingers battled foul trouble in the second period, and Jerran Young also hobbled off hamstrung, but led briefly before Doug Herring Jr made it 38-37 for the visitors at half-time with three free throws.

The wheels came off for the hosts in the third quarter when the Knights surged to a 63-50 lead by making 11 out of 19 field-goal attempts and also playing good defence to restrict the Slingers to trying tough jumpers.

With former NBA centre Darryl Watkins (23 points) and Maxie Esho (24 points) on fire, the Knights pulled away in the final quarter as Larry Liew and John Fields both fouled out, leaving the Slingers to lick their wounds, knowing they need a much better performance in Game 2 on Sunday to stay in contention.

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