Slingers close in on second spot
Neo's men on track to achieve target after back-to-back wins over Dragons
With seven games left before the Asean Basketball League (ABL) play-offs, the Singapore Slingers are on track to achieving their goal of finishing second after winning their third consecutive game - their second-longest winning run this season - yesterday.
The Slingers beat the Malaysia Dragons 81-44 at the OCBC Arena for their second victory over their Causeway rivals in three days.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||MALAYSIA DRAGONS|
While Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang was beaming after lifting the Straits Cup - contested between the two Causeway rivals in the ABL - for the third season in a row, he warned his team against complacency before the play-offs.
"I'm definitely happy for them... but (being) second is the goal right now. We definitely can keep up the momentum so long as we don't get complacent," said Neo.
"We need to keep working and doing what we're supposed to do. Take it game by game and things will take care of themselves."
The Slingers got off to a bright start thanks to sharp shooting by Xavier Alexander and Jerran Young, leading 23-13 after the first quarter.
The Dragons tightened their defence early in the second quarter, but the Slingers increased their attacking tempo to widen their lead to 38-25 at half-time.
The home side were excellent at both ends in the third quarter, scoring 24 points and limiting the Dragons to only nine as they extended their lead to 62-34.
After leading by a massive 37 points with 2½ minutes left in the fourth quarter, Neo rested his regulars and finished the game with five locals - Delvin Goh, Lim Jun Yuan, Tay Ding Loon, Kelvin Lim and Russel Low, who was later replaced by Lavin Raj.
"We were up by 30 and, while winning is good for us, I wanted to get more players some court time and experience," said Neo.
He also praised his players for improving from their 87-76 win against the Dragons in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
John Fields was the Slingers' top scorer with 28 points, followed by fellow Americans Young and Alexander with 21 points apiece. Winston Shepard led the scoring for the Dragons with 25 points.
Finishing second in the regular season will earn the Slingers home advantage in the play-offs.
With the win, the Slingers remained third in the 10-team ABL with a 12-7 record, behind the Alab Pilipinas (16-3) and the Formosa Dreamers (12-6).
The Slingers will next play the CLS Knights Indonesia in Surabaya on Wednesday.