The crowd at the OCBC Arena erupted as Singapore Slingers centre John Fields looked to have made the game-tying basket right at the final buzzer of the Asean Basketball League game against Mono Vampire yesterday.
But, to the disappointment of the home bench and fans, the umpires ruled that he had executed his shot after the clock ran out.
And it was the visitors who celebrated their first away win in the 81-79 victory, even though they remained ninth in the 10-team ABL with a 2-8 win-loss record.
The hosts had only themselves to blame after they let slip seven-point leads on a few occasions, including a 67-60 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.
Despite their opponents' late surge to go 72-71 up midway through the final period, the Slingers must have fancied their chances after Mono Vampire's influential centre Malcolm White fouled out with 23 points and seven rebounds with more than four minutes to play.
But Neo Beng Siang's men just could not capitalise on the advantage, missing numerous free throws, jumpers and lay-ups, as last season's finalists Mono Vampire played impressive defence to keep the Slingers at bay.
Frustrated by his team's propensity to make life difficult for themselves as they dropped to fifth with a 7-5 win-loss record, Neo told the Straits Times: "The last shot was 50-50 and a tough call but we shouldn't have been in that position. We are supposed to be one of the best defensive teams but we did not look like that today.
"We lacked communication in defence and movement in offence. We have to train harder and get back to basics, which is playing good defence."
After White fouled out, it was left to Michael Singletary to lead the scoring for Mono, and he obliged with 23 points and 14 rebounds, as Fields' game-high 27 points were not enough to turn the tide while the Slingers were out-rebounded 50-42.
Mono Vampire's win over the Singapore Slingers at the OCBC Arena is their first road victory this season.
White told ST he was worried his team would miss his presence after he had to leave the court, but added: "Defensively, we played our best game of the season against one of the best teams in the league.
"We made stops when we needed to, and kept fighting until the end. That last stop to prevent Xavier (Alexander) from making his lay-up before John Fields' basket after the buzzer was huge. Hopefully we can kick-start our season from here and make the last-eight play-offs."
The Slingers' next match is away at CLS Knights Indonesia on Sunday, when they will face their former point guard Wong Wei Long.