Slingers expect good start
Despite obstacles, Neo looking forward to reaching semis
Singapore Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang is confident of a good start to their Merlion Cup opener against Taiwan's Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor today at the OCBC Arena.
This, despite a couple of obstacles during their preparations.
Neo revealed that the Slingers had lost 2m-centre Delvin Goh, who joined the Beruang Blazers in the Yuwang East Malaysia Basketball League, while forward Toh Qing Huang and guard John Ng have enlisted for National Service.
Additionally, just two days ago, Filipino import Jeff Viernes suffered a thigh injury in training. One would expect Neo, recently voted Asean Basketball League (ABL) coach of the year, to be worried.
But the 55-year-old ex-national basketball player calmly said yesterday: "Yes, we may need to adjust here and there but I am not worried about it. "I believe and trust that they will have a good game against the Taiwanese.
"We are not actually pressured by the game."
Perhaps he is encouraged by the return of their key American imports - centre Justin Howard and swingman Xavier Alexander - as well as several local players, including captain Desmond Oh, shooting guard Ng Hanbin and point guard Wong Wei Long.
Apart from looking forward to tonight's match, Neo is also looking towards reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, which is being resurrected after a 20-year haitus.
Apart from Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor, the Slingers will also face stiff opposition from former NBA star Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks in Group A.
The Malaysia Dragons, Mighty Sports and Seoul Samsung Thunders are in Group B.
- Kinmen Kaolian Liquor v Singapore Slingers (6.30pm)
- Seoul Samsung Thunders v Mighty Sports (8.30pm)
- Seoul Samsung Thunders v Westports Malaysia Dragons
- Shanghai Sharks v Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
- Mighty Sports v Westports Malaysia Dragons
- Singapore Slingers v Shanghai Sharks
- Semi-final 1 - Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B
- Semi-final 2 - Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A
- Match for 5th place - Last Group A v Last Group B
- Match for 3rd place - Losers Semi-final Game 1 v Losers Semi-final Game 2
- Championship Game - Winners Semi-final 1 v Winners Semi-final 2