Slingers assured of ABL play-off spot despite loss

Singapore Slingers centre Christien Charles driving past the CLS Knights' Brian Williams as Shane Edwards looks on. Charles scored 16 points in the upset defeat.
Singapore Slingers centre Christien Charles driving past the CLS Knights' Brian Williams as Shane Edwards looks on. Charles scored 16 points in the upset defeat.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Singapore Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang rued his team's complacency as their three-match winning streak was snapped by the CLS Knights Indonesia following a 64-65 loss at the OCBC Arena yesterday.

The consolation for the fifth-placed Slingers (10-8) is that with champions Malaysia Dragons' defeat by the Saigon Heat on Saturday, they are assured of a top-six finish in the nine-team Asean Basketball League, sealing a spot in the play-offs next month.

The hosts led by as many as 12 points (34-22) in the second half, but saw the Knights, already out of play-off contention in eighth spot, claw their way back.

The visitors were led by their foreign trio of Shane Edwards (17 points), Charles Jensen (15) and Brian Williams (10), also converting an impressive 14 out of 17 attempts from the free-throw line.

Swingman Xavier Alexander led the Slingers with 18 points and five rebounds, and centre Christien Charles chipped in with 16 points and 21 rebounds, but the team struggled from the free-throw line, making just seven out of 16 shots.

They were 0-for-9 from three-point range in the second half.

Neo said: "We have only ourselves to blame. I was not happy with the whole week of training because I felt we were complacent.

 

"Credit to CLS because they are already out of the play-offs but came here to play to win. We committed 17 turnovers, which was unacceptable. We got the stops at times, but ended up rushing and losing the ball.

"The positive thing is this defeat comes as a timely wake-up call if we want to go far in the play-offs."

The Slingers next play Formosa Dreamers in Taiwan on Sunday before concluding their regular season at Saigon Heat on March 24.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2018, with the headline 'Slingers assured of ABL play-off spot despite loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe