Driven by anger, Xavier Alexander helps Slingers end losing streak
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||ALAB PILIPINAS|
An angry Xavier Alexander took out his frustrations on the visiting Alab Pilipinas as he led the Singapore Slingers to a one-sided 85-64 win yesterday.
The 31-year-old American managed just nine points in last Wednesday's Asean Basketball League home defeat by Saigon Heat and called it his "worst performance in a Slingers shirt".
He responded with 31 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and eight steals, while drawing 12 fouls against Alab at the OCBC Arena.
He said: "That last game really angered me and turned me on. I realised that there is this whole community and team that are riding on my back and I cannot let them down like I did.
"It's got to start with me. This is the game we can play. We cannot be too worried about offence because if we hang our hats on defence, everything will take care of itself."
His aggression and desire rubbed off on his teammates as the Slingers ended their three-game losing run in front of 2,000 spectators.
Despite being 13cm shorter than opposing Alab centre Samuel Deguara, the Slingers' 2.13m-tall Anthony McClain showed his prowess and dominated his duel with Deguara.
Marcus Elliott hit three treys in the final quarter to finish with 19 points while Delvin Goh added five points and 10 rebounds and fellow forward Leon Kwek chipped in with seven points.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang could even afford to give game time to local bench players Lavin Raj, John Ng and Ng Shi Yu.
In their previous clash with Alab last month, the Slingers conceded 40 points in the final 10 minutes to lose 90-83.
This time, they were able to contain Khalif Wyatt, limiting the Alab guard to seven points (he scored 28 in the last encounter).
They also restricted Alab's long-range shooting. The visitors made just four three-pointers, down from the 12 when they last beat the Slingers.
Neo said: "This is the kind of performance we want from the team. The imports stepped up and we want them to be consistent. The locals must also realise they can play an important role and not just bonus court time."
The Slingers improved to 2-4 and next travel to face the Macau Black Bears on Thursday.