Slingers coach Neo demands improvement after 'ugly win'
Slingers coach relieved to return to winning ways, but demands improvement after scrappy show
The Singapore Slingers returned to winning ways with a 72-65 victory over bottom-placed Formosa Dreamers at the OCBC Arena yesterday, but it wasn't enough to appease Neo Beng Siang.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||FORMOSA DREAMERS|
Describing it as an "ugly win", the Slingers coach was left feeling frustrated after what he thought was an error-ridden performance by his side.
A week earlier, the team had lost 82-69 to Alab Pilipinas, a result that put them in danger of missing out on the Asean Basketball League play-offs this season.
While yesterday's result bought the team some breathing space, it failed to convince Neo that they have regained their rhythm as they enter the business end of the regular season.
He said: "It's good to bounce back after the Alab loss. But, today's game is really an ugly win, although a win is a win.
"I'm not happy with what we're doing on both ends.
"We stopped running after we led by 11 points and we made a stupid mistake, turned the ball over and let them get back into the game again.
"Everybody's standing down, they're not doing anything, not going for the ball."
Formosa Dreamers of Taiwan remain rooted to the bottom of the nine-team standings after their 13th defeat in 14 outings.
But they certainly gave the Slingers a run for their money.
Even though the Slingers led from start to finish, the Dreamers kept the pressure on the hosts throughout the second half of the game.
Neo's men extended their 17-12 lead over the visitors to a 39-27 advantage by half-time, but then allowed the Taiwanese outfit to claw back into contention.
As poor decision-making and persistent fouling crept into the Slingers' game, the Dreamers began to grow in confidence.
Entering the fourth quarter with a 51-45 lead, the Slingers then looked to have steadied themselves with Christien Charles soon sinking consecutive baskets.
But the poor passing and fouls continued to plague the team, ensuring a nervy finish that in Neo's opinion was completely unnecessary.
Neo feels that the team need to take the upcoming break to recuperate for their remaining games.
Said the coach, whose side's next match is against Vietnam's Saigon Heat in two weeks' time: "As a team, offensively and defensively, I'm not happy, that's the main thing.
"We need to tidy up our game when we return for training on Tuesday and Wednesday for a better understanding of that.
"After this, have a good rest, enjoy the (Chinese) New Year and come back really strong. It's a good break for the team as part of their recovery process."
Charles, who yesterday notched a game-high 34 points and joint game-high 16 rebounds, feels that the team have to work on keeping their leads.
He said: "Once we get the lead, get a little bit smarter and crisp in our decision-making. For myself, I need to be aggressive and smart about turnovers.
"But we have to give credit to Formosa. They're a young, scrappy team so you can never let your guard down because they're going to keep fighting and that's just something we have to continue working on."
Charles also stressed that the Slingers are on track to reach the play-offs.
This season, teams ranked third to sixth in the table will play against one another in the quarter-finals. The winners will join the top two teams in the semis.
The Slingers are currently fifth, with five games left to play in the regular season.
Charles said: "We're a dangerous team. We have experience. We went to the Finals back-to-back so we would know what it takes, what it feels like in the play-offs environment.
"But, we just have to focus on all the details."