Singapore Slingers trounced but vow to be stronger
But Slingers say they'll come back stronger and eye ABL title
SINGAPORE SLINGERS 55
SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS 94
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.
VETERANS TO RETURN
"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."
- 5th/6th play-off: Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor 84 Westports Malaysia Dragons 76
Fredette has ice in his veins
TOP FORM: Shanghai Sharks’ guard Jimmer Fredette (in white, No. 32) helping his team to a nervewracking finish and win over Mighty Sports.
MERLION CUP FINAL
SHANGHAI SHARKS 78
MIGHTY SPORTS 77
With virtually no time left on the clock and his team trailing by two points in the Merlion Cup final last night, Shanghai Sharks' guard Jimmer Fredette stood at the free-throw line at the OCBC Arena, glory beckoning.
Convert two of free-throws and the former Sacramento Kings player would send the final into overtime; make all three and he would seal the win for the Chinese side.
With around 3,000 fans watching, Fredette showed nerves of steel, coolly sinking all three free-throws to give the Sharks a dramatic 78-77 win over the Philippine side Mighty Sports, to lift the Merlion Cup.
"I tried to take the pressure off myself," said Fredette.
"I knew that I would send the game into overtime if I made the first two shots, and the last one would be a bonus to get the win.
"I practised these pressure situations my whole life with my brother (elder brother TJ) in my backyard... I just visualised myself in that backyard and thinking about my brother at that moment."
The Sharks led 25-17 at the end of the first period, but went into half-time 41-40 down.
Mighty Sports were 61-53 up after the third quarter and actually held the lead by 14 points early in the final quarter before the Sharks smelled blood.
With the game delicately balanced at 77-75 in favour of the Sports near the end, Fredette was fouled while making a three-point attempt, leading to the free-throws.
Sports' head coach Charles Tiu said: "We had our chances and made some mistakes; the (final) foul was a tough call, but that is basketball.
"It is a really painful loss... And, in a sense, you could say that we were robbed, but you have to give them credit for not quitting.
"We couldn't put the game away and Jimmer was making some crazy shots." - LIM SAY HENG