ABL: Profligate Slingers hand Warriors win

Defending ABL champions Indonesia Warriors have now won three games on the trot after defeating a wasteful Singapore Slingers 69-57 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Steven 'Demon' Thomas, Indonesia Warriors
Kelvin Yap

By Kelvin Yap

The Singapore Slingers had themselves to blame for the defeat having made only 22 out of 68 field goal attempts, while the Warriors finished 27 of their 54 field goal attempts. Kyle Jeffers was the exception to the case with a massive 27 points for the Slingers and was the only one from his side who recorded more than 0.500 in field goals.

On the other hand, the Warriors showed a team effort with four players hitting more than 10 points, with guard John Smith leading his side's scoring charts with 14 points.

Both sides made a nervy start to the game with more than five minutes elapsing before either team struck double figures when Mario Wuysang sunk a three-pointer to go ahead 11-5. 

The Slingers had more chances, but made only 12% of their 17 field goal attempts. The Warriors were not clinical as well having sunk seven out of 15 from the field, but it was enough to open up a 17-7 lead that they would not relinquish.

Rashad Jennnings of the Slingers was particularly wasteful, completing none of the six chances that went his way in the opening quarter. The 29-year-old completed the game with only nine points despite 15 field goal attempts, but managed to redeem himself at the board, grabbing 10 defensive rebounds and seven at the other end.

The second half proved to be even worse on the offensive for Jennings, who was called for travelling twice, but careless play from the Warriors that resulted in 12 turnovers helped ensure that the Indonesian side did not run away with the lead going into the halftime break, with the score at 36-25.

The Warriors tightened their act coming out of the half, with John Smith directing their play well and the Slingers looked like they were done for, after Jerick Canada gave the Warriors a 17-point lead with four minutes left on the clock. 

Canada came away with a quick steal that led to Donald Dulay committing a technical foul to prevent the break. Canada converted the two free throws, but the Slingers were undeterred and went on an eight-point scoring run shortly after when Jeffers sunk a three-pointer and Wu Qingde beat the buzzer to tip in a rebound, ending the third quarter with the score at 52-45.

Qingde, who managed to bag five points in the game despite having only 13 minutes on the court, was later singled out by coach Neo Beng Siang for praise. The coach said: "Qing De came on and played hard. That's what we want to see from every player."

However, the Warriors came out of the short break unflustered and embarked on a nine-point run to go 61-45 up thanks to further profligacy from the Slingers. By then, the game was a foregone conclusion and the Warriors eased to grab their third straight win 67-59.

Coach Neo Beng Siang reflected that their poor offensive performance cost them the match.

"Basically I'm not happy with the performance. I think we performed bad offensively and we struggled to score. We need that scoring power." he said.

The Warriors ended the game conceding 23 turnovers despite the comfortable win, and star forward John Smith admitted that it was not ideal. 

"[It was] just some bonehead plays that we had. We just need to limit them in the next game." he said after the match.

On his excellent performance, Smith added: "Yeah, I was ready when we were on the plane. [It's] just the hard work, it's paying off. The extra (hours) staying in the gym, it's starting to show up."

The Singapore Slingers will be in action again at the Singapore Indoor Stadium next Tuesday, February 5th, when they face the Westports Malaysia Dragons.

The Indonesia Warriors will get a chance to extend their winning streak next Friday when they play the San Miguel Beermen at Ynares Sports Arena in the Philippines in the ABL Friday Basketball game.

Quarter scoring: Q1(17-7) Q2(19-18) Q3(16-20) Q4(17-12) 

Full-Time: Warriors 69-57 Slingers

Singapore Slingers: Jeffers - 27, Wong - 10, Jones-Jennings - 9, Wu - 5, Oh - 3, Dulay - 3.

Indonesia Warriors: Smith - 14, Canada - 12, Daniels - 11, Thomas - 11, Wuysang - 7, Sitepu - 7, Prihantono - 3, Smith - 2, Ristanto - 2.

ABL: Fixtures, Standings and Results.

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