Basketball: Slingers coach Neo warns against complacency after win over Saigon Heat

Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander (No. 15) meeting resistance in the form of his Saigon Heat marker, as teammate Delvin Goh looks on. The Slingers won the game at the OCBC Arena 101-67.
Singapore Slingers' Xavier Alexander (No. 15) meeting resistance in the form of his Saigon Heat marker, as teammate Delvin Goh looks on. The Slingers won the game at the OCBC Arena 101-67. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Singapore Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang hailed his side's emphatic 101-67 victory over the Saigon Heat at the OCBC Arena last night as an important one as they prepare for a hectic week ahead.

While the Vietnamese side are at the bottom of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) table, he believes that the win will help his men build some momentum after a slow start to the season which saw them winning only three of their first eight games.

Besides avenging their 79-73 loss to Saigon earlier this month, last night's result helped the Slingers move from eighth to seventh in the table with four wins from nine games.

Neo was pleased with his team's offence and consistency - areas that have let them down frequently in past games.

He felt that what made all the difference in yesterday's game was that they maintained their focus throughout the match.

"After the losses in the past few weeks, we didn't want to think so much about the standings but more about how we can gain momentum and bring it to other games," he said.

"We set the tempo, had good energy and maintained that consistency because everyone was a lot more focused. Hopefully, we can bring this to the next few games."

The Slingers ended the first quarter with a slim 25-23 lead.

The Heat then took a two-point lead early in the second quarter, but the hosts restored their advantage, which they never relinquished, to go into the break 54-39 up.

A strong defensive showing by the home side saw them limit the Vietnamese side to 13 points as they raced to a 79-52 lead.

Led by guard Marcus Elliott, who had a game-high 29 points, the Slingers could not be stopped and in the final two minutes, Neo fielded an all-local line-up of Lavin Raj, Tay Ding Loon, John Ng, Kelvin Lim and Lim Jun Yuan. Leon Kwek and Delvin Goh chipped in 13 points each, with the latter adding 11 rebounds and four assists.

  • 58 

    Points in the paint by the Slingers, against the Heat's 36.

Elliott said: "It's a win we needed. We're trying to get our number of wins up and we're taking it one win at a time. The preparation and rest over the last 10 days were good."

But Neo warned against complacency as they gear up to take on Hong Kong Eastern tomorrow before facing Alab Pilipinas on Sunday.

He said: "We've won by a big margin, but there are still some things that we have to tidy up. We shot well, but we've got to cut our turnovers (13) to single digits."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2020, with the headline 'Neo warns against complacency after win'. Subscribe