Charles wants to make up for lost time with Slingers
Slingers' new import eyes success after missing much of last season
Christien Charles is a man on a mission.
The two-time Asean Basketball League (ABL) World Import MVP (2013 and 2014) and ABL Defensive Player of the Year (2013 and 2016) is keen to make up for lost time after missing out much of last season.
A back injury limited the 36-year-old to just four games with Saigon Heat, before he struggled to cement a spot in the team under new coach Kyle Julius' system.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||MONO VAMPIRE|
So this season, the 2.16m American can't wait to regain his form.
GAINING FULL FITNESS
Charles, who has averaged 32.5 minutes in three games for the Singapore Slingers, told The New Paper that he is hoping for a full outing, starting possibly with tonight's match against Thai side Mono Vampire at the OCBC Arena.
He said: "I'm looking to get a good solid full game, that's what I've yet to show.
"I've had moments where I've been inconsistent, getting in foul trouble and just being out of place at certain moments of the game.
"But I'm getting better with more practices under my belt."
In his first game with the Slingers against Alab Pilipina on Jan 7, Charles picked up two early fouls in the first two minutes, which saw him taken off.
But the ABL's all-time blocks leader (259) came back to redeem himself and topped the Slingers' scoresheet with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Charles, who admitted that he was rusty at the beginning, said: "I started out a little slow in the first game and got into foul trouble a lot.
"But the team have been working with me and the coaches have been helping me adjust to the system, so they've been a great help.
"I feel like I'm improving and getting settled in, so I'm excited of what's ahead."
Following his impressive first showing, Charles collected 47 points and 29 rebounds in the next two games, proving to be a mainstay in the Slingers' offence and defence.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang is impressed with Charles and feels that he adds a good balance to the team.
Neo said: "Right now, Chris is definitely a good fit for us because of his height.
"He adds to the presence under the basket and he's very agile and goes hard, so he fits the team well.
The 56-year-old added: "He also just came back from injury so, at the moment, he gives us about 30 minutes or slightly more (in games), and I'm sure he can give us more.
"He just needs to cut down on the foul trouble, come back, and slowly pick up to get back in good shape."
The Slingers are on the back of two consecutive victories, and Charles is determined to keep the winning streak going, against a side who had beaten the Singapore side 90-78 in Bangkok last month.
He said: "We want to continue to build on the momentum that we have, especially with the home support.
"We want to give them a good showing and, personally, I just want to contribute in as many ways as possible, whether it's in offence or defence.
FIGHTING AGAINST TIME
"If I can help with extra passes or assists, block some shots defensively, I'll do it. And if I can score, I'll score.
"Most importantly, it's to help the team win, whatever it takes."
As Charles seeks to soar higher with the Slingers, he is aware that age is catching up with him, but refuses to let that affect his game.
"I want to play for as long as my body lets me and I know that time isn't on my side, but I've been working hard to maintain my body.
"I want to play for another 30 years if I can, but some things just don't work as well when you get older. But I love the game and I just got to figure out ways to combat time."