Slingers inspired by anger and fans to make history
Delvin Goh hopes his Singapore Slingers teammates are as upset as him, after they failed to win Game 4 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals and seal the championship.
That loss to the CLS Knights Indonesia last Saturday levelled the series at 2-2, but the Slingers have another chance to clinch the title as they host the decider at the OCBC Arena tonight.
Goh said they will channel that setback in Surabaya, where they were let down by poor defending and foul trouble, into a positive reaction.
"We had a great chance to finish it off in Surabaya, but we didn't handle things well, we didn't come on confident enough," Goh, 23, told The Straits Times.
"Anger is definitely one thing that's going to push us harder and I also tend to be more aggressive.
"We just have to bring that anger and aggression, channel it the right way, and go in and knock them out."
The 2.01m forward was also part of the team that lost to Westports Malaysia Dragons and Hong Kong Eastern in the Finals in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Goh, who is averaging 7.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in the play-offs and has established himself as a key player, said: "The past two times ahead of the Finals, we weren't as ready and didn't train as well compared to this year."
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said the experience of those near-misses will help, but stressed the team's focus was solely on tonight's Game 5.
He said: "On the defensive end, we need to limit their treys. Don't give them open shots, be more active near the post and I think we'll be fine."
Having the bulk of the sold-out 3,143 crowd supporting them will also be a boost, said forward Xavier Alexander, who has been with the Slingers since 2014.
He added: "The evolution of the Slingers fans has been great to see. We went from barely having people in the stands to selling out and adding stands now.
"They always have our backs by cheering for us and it's always good to play in front of our home crowd."