The moment of Truth for Singapore Slingers
Slingers coach Neo calls for disciplined offence ahead of first clash with Taiwanese outfit Kaohsiung
|KAOHSIUNG TRUTH||SINGAPORE SLINGERS|
The Kaohsiung Truth may be fourth in the six-team Asean Basketball League near the halfway mark of the season, but table-toppers Singapore Slingers are not going to take things for granted when they meet in Taiwan this afternoon.
Especially since the sides have yet to meet this season.
Adding to this unpredictability, the Truth left Kuala Lumpur on Jan 25 with a surprise 97-79 win over defending champions Westports Malaysia Dragons, who had forced the Slingers into double-overtime on Jan 8 before losing 78-77 in Singapore.
"There is no room for complacency," said Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang, who wants to cement top spot to secure home-court advantage for the play-offs.
"I'm quite surprised how they managed to convincingly beat the Dragons away even though they were down 14-2 at one point in the first quarter.
"Kaohsiung played zonal defence the entire game, so we have to keep running and run a disciplined offence to counter their 2-3 defence before they settle down.
"Like what we did against the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions in our last match, we need to be disciplined to limit Kaohsiung's three-point conversion as well."
Since the 82-72 win over the Eastern Long Lions on Jan 15, the Slingers have not played a game.
While the break gave his team a much-needed breather, Neo also took the opportunity to whip them into shape again for the second half of the season.
There were more visits to the Bukit Batok Nature Park, where the Slingers were put through gruelling slope runs, like they did during pre-season.
This was to prepare them for the upcoming double-headers, which include this week's showdowns against the Truth (today) and Eastern (at home on Sunday), and next week's clashes with the Dragons (away on Feb 10) and Alab Pilipinas (at home on Feb 12).
Neo said: "We went to the nature park three times. It was tiring because they were timed runs, but they all had fun and it was a good time for bonding.
"I even organised a table tennis session for them.
"The break was good, especially for our imports, who played many 40-minute games, and those who are recovering from minor injuries.
"The imports had a good five, six days to go back to visit their families and we hope they come back focused for the second half of the season.
"We resumed court training on Sunday and, other than losing forward Wu Qingde to a knee injury, we are okay in terms of numbers. These two weeks are absolutely crucial for us.
"If we can take care of business at home against the strong teams and beat them once away, we will have a good advantage going into our last six games."