Tougher to get to Asian Games

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Singapore Slingers trounced but vow to be stronger

But Slingers say they'll come back stronger and eye ABL title

UNDER REVIEW: Triallist Jeff Viernes (in red) will be evaluated by the Singapore Slingers coaching committee before a decision will be made on whether the Filipino will make the squad for the Asean Basketball League.



They were outclassed yesterday, hapless amid an onslaught by their hungry opponents but, even in hopeless defeat, the Singapore Slingers vowed to come back stronger and win this year's Asean Basketball League (ABL) title.

The Slingers were thrashed 94-55 by the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Merlion Cup third/fourth tie at the OCBC Arena on Sunday (Sept 25), but captain Desmond Oh was sure his team would come good once the new ABL season starts in November.

The 30-year-old pointed out that the team had just a week to prepare for the Merlion Cup, with various players having school, work and National Service commitments.

"Definitely today we were sloppy," the shooting guard said.

"We are really disappointed with the team performance today, but we will bounce back as soon as possible.


"We can do better for the ABL season; we have veterans like Russel Low and Larry Liew coming back this year, so this year's team will be better than last year's.

"We are aiming to be the champions."

The Slingers lost 3-2 to the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the best-of-five ABL Finals last season, their best showing since the league started in 2009.

If yesterday's performance was any indication, the Singapore outfit will have a lot of work to do before the new ABL season begins.

In front of a loud crowd of around 2,200, the South Koreans raced to a 6-0 lead and, while the Slingers drew level midway through the first period, they were soon left powerless, entering the half-time break 45-29 down, and 76-49 after the third period.

The Koreans were resolute in defence, lightning quick in attack and deadly accurate.

Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said: "They dominated the ball, we made too many turnovers and we shot badly. That basically cost us the game.

"Overall, I would give the team 4.5 marks out of 10. We have a lot of improvements to work on; we are small, so we need to work on our team defence to make up for our lack of height."

Swingman Xavier Alexander, along with fellow American import Justin Howard, were the rare bright sparks for the Slingers yesterday, Alexander scoring a team-high of 22 points, and Howard contributing 15.

The two Americans will be back for the ABL season, while Neo said he will discuss with his coaching committee if triallist Jeff Viernes, a Filipino, is up to the mark.

Alexander, 27, said: "I am feeling good at the moment, but I am my worst critic, so I can get better.

"I am going back to the States for three weeks after this before coming back, so I will continue to grind and get better, and come back to try to get the (ABL) championship for Singapore."


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