On an afternoon where the ABL saw the youngest ever player feature for any team in its 3-years history, the Singapore Slingers suffered their first defeat in an opening game in the ABL. The Indonesia Warriors were never in danger of losing the game and enjoyed a healthy double digit lead throughout the game.
The Singapore Slingers started this match as slight favourites, boasting a complete overhaul of their 4 imports. Donald Little, Louis Graham, Vaughn Canta and Don Dulay were touted as the players to look out for, but their overall performance would had fans wondering if they were watching a pre-season friendly. The Indonesia Warriors meanwhile, feature Mario Wuysang, Rony Gunawan and new imports, Jonathan Smith and ex-Patriots, Steven Thomas.
Despite winning the tip-off, the Slingers were wasteful in their attempts and very soon, found themselves 13-3 down to the Warriors. The Slingers were restricted to 3-point shots and Th0mas bossed the paint area with authority. Moreover, the Slingers could not seem to gather any momentum from the game and after enjoying a brief spell, would return the “20 points” buffer to the Warriors. As though indicating a lost cause, Coach Neo played with an ‘all-local’ roster in the final minutes, introducing Delvin Goh into the fray, and at the same time, breaking an ABL record of fielding the youngest ever player in the League’s 3 year history.
Slingers went on to lose the game 79-59. Louis Graham and Mario Wuysang top-scored the game with 23 points each, with Donald Little (14 points) and Pathman (7 points) following way behind.
Post game, we spoke to Donald Little on his performance and he evaded the question by replying: I think the Indonesians had a great game. Whatever they threw, it counts. Whatever we threw, it rebounded out. When reminded about the slam dunk missed, Little told us that was ‘what I (he) meant’. When asked about the difference playing for Patriots and Slingers, the Centre gave a politically correct answer by saying that “I am here to play basketball, does not matter which team I play for”.
Don Dulay, in his first game for Slingers, admitted that the Slingers played poorly in the 1st half but showed more aggression in the 2nd half. When asked if the Sta Cruz incident (see below) was the catalyst behind the Indonesian’s strong showing, Dulay replied: I personally know him (Sta Cruz) and he would not make a difference whether he played a not. I guess, the defence was gone in the 1st half that caused us the loss. Dulay also revealed Coach Neo had asked the players to ‘attack’ as they were down by 20 points and had nothing to lose.
We certainly that the Slingers would pick up after this devastating loss and come back strongly against the Thailand Slammers on Wednesday. Anything more than a loss, could see the Slingers consider the position of some players, particularly the imports, who had were overshadowed by some local players this afternoon.
Despite the best efforts of the local cagers, the Slingers fell 79-59 to the Indonesia Warriors on the opening day of ABL.
The “Sta Cruz Incident
With over 3 minutes to play in the 1st half, Indonesia Warriors did a substitute with Sta Cruz entering the fray in a No.12 jersey. However, the team sheet had indicated very clearly that Sta Cruz was wearing No.13 jersey and was denied entrance by the 3 Umpires. A brief fracas between Umpire and the Warriors’ bench ensued. Sta Cruz was then not allowed to play unless he wears a No.13 jersey.