Singapore Slingers must root out complacency
Slingers coach Neo wants no repeat of last week's late meltdown
SINGAPORE SLINGERS v ALAB PILIPINAS
(Tomorrow, 4pm, StarHub TV Ch 205/ 112 & 76.25MHz)
They blew a 90-77 lead with merely 104 seconds of the game remaining last week.
Singapore Slingers' eventual 97-95 overtime loss to Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions - their first defeat this season - left coach Neo Beng Siang an exasperated man.
Ahead of tomorrow's Asean Basketball League match against the Alab Pilipinas at the OCBC Arena, the 55-year-old wants his team to get back to winning ways. But first, he has to root out the complacency and get his players to play as a unit again.
Said Neo, who could be seen and heard telling his players to run down the clock and see out the win at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai: "With the lead we had and, with so little time left, we got over-confident.
"We gave up a lot of three-pointers to our opponents and committed 28 turnovers which cost us the game.
"What was important was that we sat down to analyse the match after we came back and I hope this loss wakes us up and we can bounce back from this."
The late collapse aside, the Slingers did play a good game, converting 44 per cent of their field-goal attempts and forcing 34 free-throws from which they claimed 30 points. But they will need to be at their defensive best against Alab Pilipinas.
What was important was that we sat down to analyse the match after we came back and I hope this loss wakes us up and we can bounce back from this.Singapore Slingers' coach Neo Beng Siang
The side from the Philippines rebounded from a 71-66 loss to the Slingers last month to beat Kaohsiung Truth twice, 91-82 and 93-87, earlier this month.
Fans can expect a sequel to the explosive showdown between Slingers swingman Xavier Alexander and Alab Pilipinas guard Bobby Ray Parks Jr, who played for Texas Legends in the NBA Development League last year.
One of the most dramatic moments of that clash at the Alonte Sports Arena came when Parks rejected Alexander's attempted dunk. Alexander, though, managed to get his way later on in the game, as he helped the Slingers to victory.
Neo said: "They are getting better and more confident with Parks as their top-scorer and go-to man. X (Alexander) did a good job on him in the Philippines, but we still have to decide on how to handle Parks in on-ball situations, stop him from getting to the basket and limit their three-point shots.
"We need to remember to play our game, defend well and play as a team. With home court advantage and the fans behind us, we have to make it count."