Down by 11 points with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Slingers came from behind to steal one from the Dragons home floor, withstanding a phenomenon debut by new Dragons import Justin Leith who had 31 points and 11 rebounds. It almost felt like a Deja vu game, mentioned in the previous post ,when Slingers defeated Satria Muda BritAma in similar fashion last season. Except, this time, it was without the Flyboy.
Easily, this is the best game this season for the Slingers team and the fans. Slinger back-up point guard Wong Wei Long calls it “the happiest win this season”.
Coming into the game as an underdog against the hottest team in the league, and having won only 1 away game thus far this season, it seemed almost improbable that the Slingers could take this game. But Leo Avenido broke out of his scoring slump, delivering 28 points, along with 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Kyle Jeffers also had a phenomenon game with 23 points and 16 rebounds, despite matching up against Nakiea Miller, an old nemesis of the Slingers.
However, it was the Slingers locals that made the difference in this game. Pathman Matialakan, the 17 foot assassin, had his best game of the Slingers, scoring 4 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. Steven “Yakuza” Khoo was also outstanding, going for 7 points and 4 rebounds. Desmond Oh, though scoring only 3 points, had a stellar defensive performance on Rudy Lingganay, limiting the Dragon’s Filipino guard to only 5 points.
Undoubtly, it was the Slingers total team effort, grit and determination, that allow them to emerge victorious. To quote Leo, ”We are the NEVER SAY DIE HARD TEAM”. Despite a late controversial 5 second inbound violation call by the referee, the Slingers made key stops in the final 5 minutes to turn the tables around. First it was Marcus Skinner who scored back to back baskets on two consecutive possessions, owing to Kyle Jeffers key block on Nakiea Miller to cut the Dragons lead to 85-77. Then, Desmond Oh and Leo Avenido combined to hit 3 consecutive three pointers to put the Slingers up 89-85 with 2 minutes remaining. Even when KL Dragons had a chance to tie this up, Kyle Jeffers had a crucial steal with 10 seconds remaining to seal the deal.
Congratulation, Slingers! Well done! The team did us proud for this one.
The away win put the Slingers 1 game apart from Satria Muda, strengthening their position for the 4th playoff spot. With 2 games remaining in the regular season, should the Slingers carry such a form and die hard attitude into the playoffs, perhaps we could make a good run for the championship.