Slingers look to Alexander for inspiration
American swingman vows to bounce back after slow start to the season
Although he posted 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in the 83-59 loss to debutants Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club last week, it was clear Singapore Slingers talisman Xavier Alexander never really got going.
In that match, his 54th in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), the 29-year-old American became just the eighth overall and the third-fastest player to cross the 1,000-point mark, three games slower than Christien Charles and Steve Thomas.
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But Alexander, who now has 1,005 points in the ABL, was in no mood for celebration.
He told The New Paper: "Achieving this with this Slingers team and organisation in three seasons means a lot to me and I'm proud of it because of all the work that we have put into this.
"But I'm my biggest critic, and nobody has to tell me I didn't play well in that game.
"We were waiting to see how the play was going to develop instead of taking control. We definitely have to be more aggressive."
I’m my biggest critic, and nobody has to tell me I didn’t play well in that game.Slingers swingman Xavier Alexander
The Slingers need Alexander to get back to his best against CLS Knights Indonesia at the OCBC Arena tomorrow.
The Indonesian side got off to a good start last Saturday, beating fellow ABL debutants Formosa Dreamers of Taiwan 94-73. But, their two world imports limped off injured in that game.
American centre Brian Williams (13 points and six rebounds) should be fit to play tomorrow, but his compatriot, forward Duke Crews (16 points and 10 rebounds), will not recover in time and has been replaced by 2012 ABL Finals MVP Evan Brock.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said: "Their locals are also handy when it comes to open three-pointers, so we will have to brush up on our one-on-one containment and limit their scoring.
"X (Alexander) has done great overall. But based on the video analysis of our last game, we could do with more effort and energy from him on our defensive end.
"In offence, we need him to push and run more, provide more penetration and attack the basket because these are his strengths.
"With Mitch (Folkoff) and Larry (Liew) back in the team, we will have more players to rotate, but we have also lost (rookie point guard) Lim Jun Yuan to an ankle injury."
After parting ways with Justin Howard and Wong Wei Long, the Slingers are looking to Alexander to provide the inspiration.
And he feels ready to shoulder the added responsibility.
He said: "I've been one of the leaders since I got here. The roster changes definitely magnifies that position, but I'm ready for this and more.
"I love the crowd here in Singapore and we have to feed off their energy and play exciting basketball to protect our home advantage."
Tickets are available from apactix.com.