By Marcus ChhanFollow @@MarcusChhan
The Slingers squared off against the Dragons on Tuesday with the knowledge that a win would lift them off the bottom of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) table.
And the Singapore side duly delivered for their coach with a gutsy 68-67 victory to move up to fourth in the standings while at the same time drop their Malaysian rivals to last place.
Neo's team are now 2-2 to start the new campaign in 2013.
"Before the game it was do-or-die," Neo told FOX Sports in a post-match interview.
"We needed to win this game to provide a stepping stone and to get back our confidence and trust."
A key feature of Tuesday's win at the Singapore Indoor Stadium was the home side's gritty play and effort to chase down every loose ball.
Much to the annoyance of Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia, the Slingers won the rebounding contest 45-33.
"That was basically a team effort," he said.
"Everybody dived for the loose ball and I think that was great and something we need to keep up in the next games."
The Slingers' next challenge is a daunting trip to reigning ABL champions the Indonesia Warriors.
But in center Kyle Jeffers, the Singapore outfit has a player who has the ability to turn a game on its head with a match-winning display as he did in the midweek victory over the Dragons with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Jeffers' determination to beat the Dragons was capitalised by an inspirational passage of play with just over a minute left. With the Slingers hanging on to a slender 64-61 lead, the American hurt his shoulder jostling for a defensive rebound; the Slingers did get hold of the loose ball but made a hash of the fast-break allowing the Dragons to counter straight away. Jeffers, who was still nursing his shoulder near the basket, managed to get his feet set to draw the offensive foul on Moala Tautuaa on the baseline.
"Yeah, you just gotta do it," Jeffers said.
He added: "I really don't care about my numbers as long as we won the game. That's all that matters."
"We knew they had strong forwards, and they are tough down low. So I was definitely expecting that [a physical game]."
Slingers guard Desmond Oh was stretchered off with three minutes to go in the fourth after collapsing at half-court clutching his rib cage.
The Slingers have confirmed to FOX that Oh will be available for next week's trip to Indonesia after a scan revealed his injury to be a slightly bruised rib.