By Gabriel Tan
The victory ensured that Tampines picked up maximum points from their opening two games of the second round of the 2012 Great Eastern-YEO's S.League campaign, and also helped them pull level with leaders DPMM FC, although they remain second on goal difference.
After Balester winger Ruhaizad Ismail had cancelled out Sead Hadzibulic's opener in the 25th minute with a sweet volley, the Stags went back in front when Jamil Ali poked home from close range nine minutes later, before Hadzibulic grabbed his second in the 70th minute to put the result beyond doubt.
Saturday's victory came right after last weekend's last-gasp 1-0 win over DPMM, and after a slow start to the season, Tampines are back on track to retain the league title; something Tan is understandably pleased about.
"These first two games were important for us," he said after the match. "We wanted to get all six points and put the pressure on DPMM.
"Now, hopefully we can maintain it."
The former Singapore international was also effusive in his praise of Hadzibulic, who was playing only his second game since joining the Stags in mid-season, and is hopeful the Serb can make a real impact at the Clementi Stadium.
"You can see he [Hadzibulic] can hold the ball up well and knows where to run," Tan added. "He gives us another option up front.
"Instead of always having to rely on Aleksandar [Duric], we now have two options to go to. Hopefully we can play to his strengths."
The Stags will now turn their attentions to their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final clash with high-flying Albirex Niigata, before returning to league action with games against Courts Young Lions, Woodlands Wellington and Tanjong Pagar United - a trio of fixtures Tan believes they must win if they are to maintain their push for the title.
"We now have Albirex coming up in the cup, which is equally important to us," he revealed. "We will now have to channel our energies to it.
"After which, we have games against Tanjong Pagar, Woodlands and Young Lions. These are the games we need to get maximum points from if we are to stay in the hunt."
Balestier coach Darren Stewart admitted his side had performed below expectations on Saturday evening, but was keen on taking full responsibility for an uncharacteristically unenergetic display.
"We were poor, although that's my responsibility and I've got to look into why we were flat," he said. "I don't blame the lads at all because they've been tremendous all year and I'm not going to turn around now and blame them.
"I pick the team, I train them and we got beaten by a far better football team. We've got to be gracious in defeat; we didn't deserve anything out of the game."
Given the poor start the Tigers got off to, Stewart even admitted his side were lucky not to have been beaten by a bigger margin.
"We were lucky we only conceded three," the Australian added. "We could have conceded seven in the first five to ten minutes - we were lucky.
"At halftime, it was actually a positive that we were only a goal down."
Despite the defeat, Stewart insisted he took positives from the performance of debuting striker Zdravko Dragicevic, and was nonetheless satisfied they picked up three points from their first two games of the second round, after last week's 1-0 win over Home United.
"Zdravko's performance was probably the only positive to come out of today's [Saturday's] game," he revealed. "He's only been with us for three days but he showed good movement and he'll be a really good asset for us.
"If someone had told me we would pick up three points from our opening two games [of the second round], I would have accepted that.
"I'm just disappointed in myself for what I've done, because I've obviously done something wrong."
Despite Saturday's defeat, Balestier are still fifth on the table, five points behind leaders DPMM and Tampines.