Slingers coach cheered by effort

John Fields, the Slingers' top scorer with 29 points getting a dunk in the first half against Hong Kong Eastern. Coach Neo Beng Siang reminded his team to start Game 2 on Wednesday with intensity and aggression.
John Fields, the Slingers' top scorer with 29 points getting a dunk in the first half against Hong Kong Eastern. Coach Neo Beng Siang reminded his team to start Game 2 on Wednesday with intensity and aggression.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Team do well at both ends to take 1-0 lead in ABL semis; Neo tells them to finish job in HK

ABL PLAY-OFFS S-FINALS

Singapore Slingers 101 Hong Kong Eastern 70

What was supposed to be a tight game turned out to be a rout as the Singapore Slingers outclassed Hong Kong Eastern 101-70 in Game 1 of the Asean Basketball League play-offs semi-finals yesterday.

Coach Neo Beng Siang was all smiles in front of over 2,000 fans at the OCBC Arena and declared that this was "real basketball".

"We did well on both ends. There were a couple of sloppy turnovers, but we committed only nine in the end and that's really good," he said.

"One thing I'm really happy about is that we played together as a team, with 28 assists. That shows we trust one another and, hopefully, we can keep it up going.

"Everyone contributed and I'm really happy with that. Jerran (Young) got into foul trouble, but the locals stepped up to stick to (Marcus) Elliott (Eastern import) and limited his scoring."

The Slingers raced to a 11-3 lead, aided by sharp shooting and Eastern's sloppy passes. Shooting guard Young picked up three fouls, limiting his playing time but local players Ng Han Bin, Delvin Goh and Larry Liew stepped up to extend their first-quarter lead to 32-20.

  • 28

    Assists, which coach Neo Beng Siang described as a team effort by the Singapore Slingers.

Eastern tightened their defence in the second quarter, but were no match for the speedy footwork and attacking play of the Slingers, who surged to a 61-32 half-time lead.

The home side maintained their momentum and tight defence for the rest of the game.

Eastern's season top scorer O'Darien Bassett had an outing to forget with only nine points. Fellow Americans Elliott and Michael Holyfield scored 19 apiece.

Eight of the 11 fielded Slingers got on the scoreboard. Centre John Fields led the way with 29 points, followed by fellow Americans Young and Xavier Alexander with 16 points each. The locals shone as well, with Goh scoring 15, Liew contributing 11 and Ng adding nine.

Goh praised his local teammates for stepping up and said: "I'm definitely happy, but we cannot be satisfied with our performance.

"Hong Kong is a totally different venue and Eastern have the crowd behind them, so we have to fix things up offensively and defensively and do what we do best."

Neo also warned against complacency in Game 2 next Wednesday.

"We can be happy, but we cannot be satisfied. We must be mentally prepared and start the game with this intensity and aggression. We want to finish there," he said.

A deciding Game 3, if needed, will be played on April 21 at home.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Slingers coach cheered by effort'. Print Edition | Subscribe