Revenge not on Slingers coach's mind
Slingers coach insists he wants only to learn from last season's Finals loss to HK Eastern
Despite losing 3-1 to Hong Kong Eastern in last season's Asean Basketball League Finals, the Singapore Slingers had a positive point difference of +2, which showed how close they were to winning the title.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, but Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang insists he is thinking of only victory, and not revenge, when both sides meet at the OCBC Arena tomorrow.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||HONG KONG EASTERN|
The 50-year-old told The New Paper: "I don't think about revenge, we just want to learn from that experience and beat them this time."
It won't be easy, not when Eastern have come to Singapore and pinched three consecutive away wins - once in the regular season and twice in last term's Finals.
Much has changed since.
The Slingers have lost Justin Howard and Wong Wei Long, while the Hong Kong side have released former NBA centre Josh Boone, French guard Steven Guinchard and locals Fong Shing Yee and Chan Siu Wing.
However, they have retained World Import MVPs Marcus Elliott and Tyler Lamb, and recruited Filipino-German forward Christian Standhardinger and 43-year-old Bahamas centre Ryan Moss.
he Slingers are a very well-coached team with great chemistry and good defence. They will be a tough match for us.Hong Kong Eastern coach Eduard Torres
Though they look like they need time to gel, the ABL champions still managed a 3-0 start on the road, pipping Alab Pilipinas 92-89, beating CLS Knights Surabaya 87-78 in overtime and Mono Vampire 112-105 last night.
The Slingers, on the other hand, have already lost twice after four games, following Wednesday's 78-90 defeat by the Vampires.
LOCALS NEED TO STEP UP
Neo said: "We need to improve on our one-on-one containment and stop the penetration by Elliott, Standhardinger and Lamb. We have to stop them from going to the basket and limit their shots.
"We have to work harder on the defensive end to get more rebounds and box out better as a team.
"Our strengths are pushing and running, and we did that against Alab and CLS. We need to stay calm and convert our outside shots. We also won our games when our locals stepped up so, if they can do so again against Eastern, we have a high chance of winning."
Despite holding a 5-3 head-to-head record against the Slingers, Eastern's ABL Coach of the Year Eduard Torres is full of respect for the only team that beat them more than twice in their debut season.
The 53-year-old Spaniard, whose team have fewer than 48 hours to recover from the Vampires game, said: "Winning our first few games was okay, but we are looking forward to the upcoming games.
"We can still improve on everything because we still have no competition rhythm. The Slingers are a very well-coached team with great chemistry and good defence. They will be a tough match for us."