The Truth hurts for Slingers
Injuries and fatigue take their toll on Neo's men
|KAOHSIUNG TRUTH||SINGAPORE SLINGERS|
The Singapore Slingers felt the full brunt of their catalogue of injuries, as well as fatigue, as they slumped to a 79-75 defeat by Kaohsiung Truth at the Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School last night.
Barring a dramatic collapse by Asean Basketball League leaders the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions (9-2), the Slingers (10-5) are unlikely to finish the regular season as top seeds for the play-offs.
The Slingers sorely missed centre Justin Howard (averages 23.8 points and 17.6 rebounds per game), who is ruled out for at least two games with a curved toe. Forwards Mitchell Folkoff and Wu Qingde are also injured.
Shooting guard Larry Liew and centre Delvin Goh did not travel for yesterday's match, leaving coach Neo Beng Siang with just seven players to rotate around.
Despite the odds stacked against them, the Slingers overturned an 11-point second-quarter deficit to lead 45-43 at the start of the third quarter.
Point guard Wong Wei Long scored 19 points, including four three-pointers, swingman Xavier Alexander contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting guard Leon Kwek chipped in with 14 points.
Howard's short-term replacement, former Chicago Bulls centre Luke Schenscher, had just one training session with his new team, but the dreadlocked 34-year-old still bagged 17 points and 12 rebounds.
However, the Slingers badly needed Howard's influence.
The Truth (5-8) played excellent two-three zonal defence to counter the Slingers and greatly improve their play-off chances.
Centre Derek Hall was the hosts' standout player at both ends of the court with 20 points and 13 rebounds, as he converted 69 per cent of his field-goal attempts.
After suffering their first back-to-back defeats this season, the Slingers will have to regroup before they get a shot at revenge when they take on the Truth again, at the OCBC Arena on Sunday.