It has been 2 weeks into the 2014 ABL Season. With the Philippines representative team, and also the 2013 ABL Champion – San Miguel Beermen – pulled out from the league, this season’s top spot is up from grabs.
2 weeks into the action and we have the promising Hi-Tech Bangkok City and the unassuming Saigon Heat tied atop the league table for first place.
The Saigon Heat with a standing of 3-0 has downed Laskar Dreya South Sumatra twice and the Indonesia Warriors once. With former Beermen Justin Williams and Leo Avenido teaming up with “The Magician” Froilan Baguion, the Heat boasts an impressive starting line-up this season, which would be tough to beat for any team.
The Slingers, on the other hand, are 1-2 and have found themselves back at 4th place, after back-to-back losses from Westports Malaysian Dragons and Hi-Tech Bangkok City. While the Slingers have clearly proven, in just 3 games this season, that they are the league’s best defensive team, they clearly haven’t been able to convert their stifling defense to wins.
Tomorrow, 3 August, as our #Singapore Assassin Tees are out for collection , the Slingers will get one more shot when they face the Saigon Heat at home.
While the Heat have been red hot and currently undefeated, it is good to note that all their 3 victories were against the Indonesian teams currently occupying the bottom 2 spots of the league standings. The Heat does boast of a high-scoring offensive arsenal capable of putting 97 points on the scoreboard (as seen from the game just 2 days ago). But it will soon be tested against a formidable Slingers defense that hasn’t allowed any opponent to score above 65 points this season.
Besides, this Heat team would have been playing their 2nd consecutive road game against the Slingers tomorrow. Having flown from Ho Chi Minh City to Sumatra and now to Singapore, travel fatigue might be a huge factor when they play the Slingers in their 2nd game in 4 days.
While it is safe to say the Slingers would be the Heat’s real test tomorrow, I like to think, the vice-versa is also true!
The Saigon Heat will give the Slingers their real test tomorrow, as they battle with injuries from some of their key players.
First, it was Slingers ASEAN import Gayford Rodriguez who suffered an injury both ankles. The Filipino forward has yet to play a single minute this season.
Then, it was Slingers International Import Hassan Adam who suffered a groin injury during the Dragons’ game. While the groin injury has kept him from going 100%, he was still able to play through the pain. Against Hi-Tech Bangkok City, however, Adams could only manage 20 minutes of game time and had to sit out the entire second quarter. The outlook of his injury does not look good, and Adams has been listed as day-to-day by the doctor. The Slingers might possibly be missing their high-flying guard-forward in action when they host Saigon Heat tomorrow.
Hence, the Saigon Heat will pose the Slingers a real test: Will the team be able to hold up and win at home for the fans without their 2 imports?
This would be the test for our locals Wei Long, Desmond, Han Bin, Larry, Russel, Delvin and Qingde to hold their ground against a star-studded Heat team.
In the absence of Adams, will they hold up to the accolade of being 2nd best in Southeast Asia?
In the absence of Adams, who will fill the gap for scoring?
In the absence of Adams, who will capitalise on this opportunity to rise?
Sure, we still do have Kyle Jeffers and Al Vergara. But that’s all we have.
I am curious who we will show up tomorrow. Will we see the “Singapore Assassin” strike back? Will we see the “D-Glove” taking away someone’s game? Will we see the “Hannibal” repeat a career performance?
Stay tune! Catch the Slingers play against the Heat tomorrow 3 August at the OCBC Arena at 4pm!