Basketball: Singapore Slingers make Asean Basketball League Finals

The Singapore Slingers (centre) in action as they pulled off a dominating 77-67 win over Alab Pilipinas in Game 1 of the best-of-three series for the Asean Basketball League semi-final playoffs at the OCBC Arena on April 2, 2017.
The Singapore Slingers (centre) in action as they pulled off a dominating 77-67 win over Alab Pilipinas in Game 1 of the best-of-three series for the Asean Basketball League semi-final playoffs at the OCBC Arena on April 2, 2017.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

They defeat Alab Pilipinas 2-0 in semi-final series to earn second shot at coveted title

The Singapore Slingers reached the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals for a second straight season, after they defeated the Alab Pilipinas 82-64 at the Baliwag Star Arena in Baliwag Bulacan, Philippines last night.

In the second game in the best-of-three semi-finals, the Slingers started the game strongly with a 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

They managed to maintain a sizeable lead for the rest of the game, peaking at 18 points in the second and final quarters, to clinch the semi-final series 2-0.

Last Sunday, they won their first game against the Pilipinas with a 77-67 win at the OCBC Arena.

Xavier Alexander led the Slingers with 21 points, Filipino-American point guard Joshua Urbiztondo added 20 points and American centre Justin Howard contributed 18 points.

MORE OF THE SAME WILL DO

We're going to watch both teams and stick to what we do, our system, and I think we'll be fine.

JOSHUA URBIZTONDO, Slingers' guard, on preparations for the ABL Finals.

The Pilipinas put up a spirited fightback in the third quarter. Led by Kiefer Ravena, the hosts closed the gap to six points by the end of the period as the crowd roared them on.

Yet, attempts to overtake the Slingers proved too little too late, as the visitors regained their momentum to fend off the Philippine team's challenge.

For the second year in a row, the Slingers will have a shot at the ABL title. Last year, they came within a game of doing so, but lost the best-of-five Finals 2-3 against the Westports Malaysia Dragons.

Their opponents in the Finals are likely to be top seeds Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions, who compiled a 16-4 record in the regular season and hold a 1-0 lead over the Saigon Heat in the other semi-final clash.

In the post-match interview, Urbiztondo, 34, who joined the team in February, said: "We're going to take one game at a time. We're going to go home, get back to the drawing board.

"We're going to watch both teams and stick to what we do, our system, and I think we'll be fine."

SAIGON HEAT V HONG KONG EASTERN

ABL S-final, Game 2: StarHub Ch112/205 & 76.25MHz, 8pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Slingers in ABL finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe