Defence is key for Slingers in play-offs

Singapore team keen to avoid costly lapses in previous games as they take on Black Bears

ABL PLAY-OFFS - Q-FINALS

S'pore Slingers v Macau Black Bears

OCBC Arena, StarHub Ch202, 4pm.


A solid defence helped the Singapore Slingers beat the Macau Black Bears in both their Asean Basketball League (ABL) regular-season games this season.

And Slingers captain Desmond Oh believes they have to keep it tight at the back if they are to continue their winning run against the same opponents in Game One of the play-off quarter-finals at the OCBC Arena today.

"A main part of our game is our defence and we believe that is what helps us win games," the 32-year-old told the Sunday Times.

"Everyone can score but, if we can stop them from getting points and we can attack and score, we have the advantage."

Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang is also looking at strengthening that area, after defensive collapses in previous games.

He said: "In such a short time, it's pretty tough to suddenly get better but at least they can focus on maintaining their consistency.

LAPSES IN CONCENTRATION

We also need to improve on our consistency because I feel that sometimes when we are winning, we get complacent and end up losing our lead.

DESMOND OH, Slingers captain, on the opening play-off game against the Macau Black Bears today.

"It's up to them to stop thinking about individual goals and start thinking of how to win the game."

The Slingers finished third in the 10-team ABL with a 16-10 win-loss record, behind Formosa Dreamers (19-7) and Alab Pilipinas (18-8), to gain home-court advantage in the best-of-three quarter-finals.

Their away game will be on Thursday and the decider - if needed - will be at Kallang next Sunday.

Oh added that the Slingers also need to work on their communication and stopping the Black Bears' counter-attacks.

He said: "Their three imports are their key players so if we are able to stop any of them, we should be fine.

"We also need to improve on our consistency because I feel that sometimes when we are winning, we get complacent and end up losing our lead."

Oh also highlighted the importance of the home crowd in spurring the players on.

He said: "It's the fans and all our family members who come and support us. With their cheering, I believe that everyone will fight even harder for them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 31, 2019, with the headline 'Defence is key for Slingers in play-offs'. Print Edition | Subscribe