Delvin Goh steps up as Slingers gain edge over Black Bears
Singapore Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang has always stressed the importance of the local players in his team and called for them to step up and play a bigger role.
And Delvin Goh did just that in Game One of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) play-offs quarter-final against the Macau Black Bears at the OCBC Arena yesterday, scoring 18 points to help his team win 102-91.
The 23-year-old was an asset for his team at both ends of the court, scoring on nine of his 10 field-goal attempts and grabbing eight rebounds.
"I just followed the coach's game plan and did what I do best, trying to help out at both offensive and defensive ends and taking the shots that my teammates trusted me to take. I was just doing my part," Goh told The Straits Times.
The Slingers started strong with quick attacking moves to lead 31-22 after the first quarter.
But sloppy passing and dribbling in the second quarter resulted in six turnovers and, with the Black Bears increasing their attacking tempo, the home side's lead was cut to 50-48 at half-time.
The visitors maintained their strong defence early in the third quarter to take the lead briefly, but the Slingers regrouped to extend their advantage to 74-68.
And, to avoid a repeat of the second quarter, they stepped up on both ends in the last quarter to wrap up the win.
Centre John Fields top-scored for the Slingers with 31 points, followed by fellow Americans Xavier Alexander (25) and Jerran Young (20).
Neo was pleased with the win but called for improvement ahead of the away fixture on Thursday. The decider - if needed - will be played on Sunday at the OCBC Arena.
He also praised Goh and Ng Han Bin for their performance but insisted the local players can do more.
"Our locals need to step up and be consistent. It's not a matter of scoring, but playing your role well and doing what we need you to do," he said.
If the Slingers win in Macau on Thursday, they will meet either Alab Pilipinas or Hong Kong Eastern in the semi-finals. - LAURA CHIA