Hectic schedule for Slingers
|ALAB PILIPINAS||SINGAPORE SLINGERS|
No coach wants to lose, but Singapore Slingers' Neo Beng Siang is a reasonable man.
While the 55-year-old is looking for two wins for his team in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) this week, he would settle for just one.
Neo's men face the Alab Pilipinas in Binan, Philippines tonight, and host the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions at the OCBC Arena on Sunday.
These are the Slingers' last two matches before the Chinese New Year holidays at the end of the month.
The Slingers have one of the most punishing schedules this season. On five occasions, they would have to play two games - one home, one away - in three days.
Only the Westports Malaysia Dragons, who go through the same routine six times, have it worse.
This week's double-header is the Slingers' third this season- they beat the Dragons 80-62 at home on Nov 25 and Alab Pilipinas 71-66 two days later.
They then downed the Malaysian side both away (81-76) and at home (78-77) last week.
Neo said: "It is inevitable our players would feel tired. We played badly on Sunday but still pulled off a win in double overtime. Even though I wasn't happy with the performance, it was a good result.
"This week, we face two of the strongest teams in the league, and to be honest, I would be happy with one win. Two for two would be a bonus."
The Singapore side are relying on a combination of massages, ice baths, compression clothing and proper nutrition to ensure they are ready for the two matches.
Neo said: "(The fixtures list) is what it is and we can only try to maximise our recovery process and get back into shape.
"The Chinese New Year break will be timely and we hope to celebrate that with a good win-lose record."
The Slingers will head to Binan with almost a full set of players who are settled into the defence-oriented system, which has been integral to their 7-1 record.
On the other hand, Alab Pilipinas have replaced Korean-American brothers Lee Seung Jun and Lee Dong Jun with 2.11-metre centre James Hughes and 2.03m forward Sampson Carter to win more rebounds.
But the Slingers will still have to contend with Alab Pilipinas point guard Bobby Ray Parks Jr, the ABL's top scorer with an average of 26.6 points per game.
Neo said: "Their new imports played their first game in the 86-77 win over Kaoshiung Truth on Sunday, but they fill different positions compared to the Lee brothers, so they will still need to get used to the team system."