ABL Finals 2019

Fired-up Slingers keen to finish job

Delvin Goh (on ground) wants the Singapore Slingers to keep fighting until the final buzzer when they face CLS Knights Indonesia in tonight's deciding Game 5 of the Asean Basketball League Finals at the OCBC Arena.
Delvin Goh (on ground) wants the Singapore Slingers to keep fighting until the final buzzer when they face CLS Knights Indonesia in tonight's deciding Game 5 of the Asean Basketball League Finals at the OCBC Arena.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

Disappointing Game 4 loss will galvanise S'pore side against Knights in ABL decider

Delvin Goh is angry and hopes the rest of his Singapore Slingers teammates are as upset as him after they failed to win Game 4 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals and seal the championship.

Last Saturday's 87-74 loss to CLS Knights Indonesia levelled the series at 2-2, but the Slingers have another chance to clinch the title when they host the decider at the OCBC Arena tonight.

Goh 23, told The Straits Times the Slingers will channel the disappointment in Surabaya, where they were let down by poor defending and foul trouble, into a positive reaction.

Noting the players are fired up, he said: "We had a great chance to finish it off in Surabaya, but we didn't handle things well, we didn't come on confident enough.

"But I'm p****d and I hope everyone's p****d we didn't get the job done and they're eager and determined to win.

"Anger is definitely one thing that's going to push us harder and I also tend to be more aggressive. We just have to bring that anger and aggression, channel it the right way, and go in and knock them out."

The 2.01m forward is hoping this season will be third time lucky as he was also on the team who lost to Malaysia Dragons and Hong Kong Eastern in the ABL Finals in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Goh, who is averaging 7.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in this off-season to establish himself as a key player for the team, said: "The past two times ahead of the Finals, we weren't as ready and didn't train as well compared to this year.

MOTIVATED

Anger is definitely one thing that's going to push us harder and I also tend to be more aggressive. We just have to bring that anger and aggression, channel it the right way, and go in and knock them out.

DELVIN GOH, Singapore Slingers forward, on the ABL Finals decider tonight.

"Now our training and intensity before the Finals have been good. I think we're more prepared this time and we just have to keep fighting, even when we're down during the game, until the final buzzer."

Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said the experience of those near misses will galvanise his side, but stressed the team's focus was solely on tonight's Game 5 and what they needed to improve.

He said: "We gave the Knights easy treys (in Game 4) and the Knights rely on those. If you let them make a couple of those, they will get more confident, then we will struggle and it'll be pretty hard to stop them after that.

"On the defensive end, we need to limit their treys. Don't give them open shots, be more active near the post and I think we'll be fine."

Having the bulk of the sold-out 3,143 venue supporting them will also be a boost, said forward Xavier Alexander, who has been with the Slingers since 2014.

He added: "The evolution of the Slingers fans has been great to see. We went from barely having people in the stands to selling out and adding stands now. They always have our backs by cheering for us and it's always good to play in front of our home crowd.

"We just have to play good defence and let that build our offence.

"Remembering the feeling of losing after Game 4, we don't want to feel that again."

ABL FINALS, GAME 5
OCBC Arena, StarHub Ch202, 8pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2019, with the headline 'Fired-up Slingers keen to finish job'. Print Edition | Subscribe