Slingers win three on the trot
Singapore side down fourth-placed Chongson to consolidate their fifth position and play-off spot
The Singapore Slingers racked up their third consecutive win after pipping Chongson Kung Fu 89-86 at the OCBC Arena yesterday.
The victory over the fourth-placed Chinese side meant that the Slingers consolidated their fifth spot on the nine-team table, with a 10-7 win-loss record.
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||CHONGSON KUNG FU|
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang, who was beaming after the final buzzer, dedicated the win to the fans who have been filling up the arena.
He told The New Paper: "It's for the fans who have been coming down to spend their Sundays supporting us.
"Our third win in a row just shows how much the team have worked hard for the fans."
The Slingers, who had lost 59-83 in their season opener last November, wasted no time to establish a 28-24 lead in the first quarter.
The visitors fired back to tie just one minute into the second quarter, and for the next five minutes, it was a see-saw contest between both sides.
Chongson centre Justin Howard, formerly with the Slingers, had a day to forget as he was booked for unsportsmanlike behaviour, stomping the ground as he made a run for the rim.
Despite the series of fouls that followed, Chongson pulled ahead with a 49-45 lead at half-time.
Slingers centre Christien Charles downed four points in the beginning of the third quarter, before Xavier Alexander cruised beneath the hoop with a two-point lay-up to haul the Slingers back at 51-51.
Chongson's spirits dampened when guard Mikhael Alexander McKinney picked up his fourth personal foul, as the Slingers ended the quarter with a 67-60 lead.
The home side extended their lead to 73-63 just one minute into the final quarter, but Chongson were not giving up without a fight.
The visitors narrowed the deficit with numerous three-pointers from McKinney and Anthony Tucker, and made the Slingers slog.
It was not till the final 11 seconds that Slingers' Leon Kwek, who came on in the third quarter, downed a final two-pointer to give them a three-point advantage, a lead they would not relinquish.
Our third win in a row just shows how much the team have worked hard for the fans.Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang
Neo, who was satisfied with the team's performance, believes that they are gelling just in time for the final three matches of the Asean Basketball League's regular season.
Eyeing a top-four finish before they enter the play-offs, he said: "We're improving and playing better as a team, and we're definitely moving in the right direction.
"The wins have built our confidence and, with three games to go, we're more or less locked in for the play-offs."
However, he is not letting complacency creep in.
With one home and two away games left, Neo remains focused on preparing the team for another shot at the elusive title.
The 51-year-old said: "We can be happy but can't get too carried away with the satisfaction of winning the past three games.
"We need to keep working to become better, because ultimately, we're still aiming to win (the title).
"I'm happy with how the team have fought so far, but if we want to be in a good position (to win), we need to tidy our defence towards the end.
"If we do what we need to,we're good to go anywhere."
Slingers shooting guard Ng Han Bin felt that after a series of inconsistent performances that has plagued the team this season, they are getting into the momentum.
The 29-year-old said: "We started off the season not too good, so we just wanted to give the fans something to cheer about. We've been playing more like a team in the last three games, that's just the beginning of something good to come."