Slingers beaten by ABL champions Hong Kong Eastern
Thai-American guard says Hong Kong Eastern are still the team to beat
They had averaged 97 points in the first three games of this Asean Basketball League season.
At the OCBC Arena yesterday afternoon, defending champions Hong Kong Eastern were restricted to a season-low 81 points by Singapore Slingers, but there was little the hosts could do to stop them from stretching their unbeaten start to four games - all on the road.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||HONG KONG EASTERN|
Following yesterday's 81-77 win in a rematch of last season's Finals, Eastern's Thai-American guard Tyler Lamb, who posted a game-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds, declared that they remain the team to beat.
The 26-year-old came alive in the third and fourth quarters, with 18 points that included a perfect three-for-three from downtown.
Lamb told The New Paper: "If it were up to me, we wouldn't have it this tough every game, but these were four tough opponents on the road.
"There are no egos on this team and my teammates kept feeding me when I was hot.
We were pretty good at shutting them down, but gave Lamb too much space in the second half.Singapore Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang, on his team allowing Tyler Lamb to wreak havoc
"We responded to runs from every opponent and stepped up to every challenge even though at times, some games seemed out of reach.
"With these back-to-back away wins, we would like to think we are once again the team to beat."
The Slingers slipped to 2-3 for the season.
They had made a bright start to the game, with swingman Xavier Alexander flying off the blocks with nine points in the first quarter en route to a team-high 21 points.
Local player Russel Low also began sharply, showing good hustling with two blocks as the hosts led 21-19 from the first period.
But the Slingers' poor handling allowed the visitors a way back into the game, via a 13-0 streak in the second period, although they responded well with a 10-2 run of their own to end the half 40-39 up.
Slingers point guard AJ Mandani discovered his form from range in the third period, netting three triples in an 11-point haul as the proceedings on court reached fever pitch with the score tied at 62-62.
However, the hosts were unable to keep up their shooting form from both the perimeter and the charity stripes as Eastern took over the lead for good midway through the final quarter.
"We threw away the game," said a dejected Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang. "We were pretty good at shutting them down, but gave Lamb too much space in the second half.
"Our free-throw percentage was 57.1 (eight from 14), which is not ideal. It should be around 70 to 80 per cent. Eastern's was (74.1 per cent, 20 from 27).
"We also made just five from 25 from three-point shots, (Ng) Han Bin was zero from five, and Xavier was zero from seven.
"We gave them the green light to take open shots, but when they are so cold, perhaps they should go to the rim more often.
"We have to pick ourselves up and show the right attitude to bounce back from this."
The Slingers play their next game away at CLS Knights Indonesia (1-3) on Wednesday night.