It was the opening game of the 2016 ABL season and the rematch of last year’s playoff game between rivals Hi-Tech Bangkok City and the Singapore Slingers.
Except at a much scaled down level.
No bright lights and no huge crowds.
The defending champs, Hi-Tech Bangkok City hosted the Slingers at their very own Hi-Tech gym, but nevertheless managed to get the job done, handing the Slingers their 3rd consecutive defeat since last season.
With a relatively new squad with no less than 6 new players, the Slingers took on a seasoned Hi-Tech Bangkok City featuring mainstays Christien Charles and Steve Thomas.
After a tied first quarter, Hi-Tech started to break away from the Slingers at the 3-minute mark of the 2nd quarter on two of Freddie Jone-Goldstein’s unanswered jumpers.
The lead swelled to 18 points close to the end of the 3rd quarter, but led by Xavier Alexander, the Slingers managed to launch a ferocious comeback and trimmed the lead down to 5 points with 5 minutes left in the 4th.
Unfortunately, the comeback would fall short on slop game play and a few key Slingers turnovers that allowed Hi-Tech to cling on to the lead.
Christien Charles led his team with 21 points and 16 rebounds, while heritage imports Tyler Lamb and Freddie Jone-Goldstein added 22 and 17 apiece.
New import Xavier Alexander had a huge statistical performance with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. But apart from Justin Howard who recorded 20 points and 17 rebounds, and ABL Local MVP who added 12, the team had little offensive help from anyone else.
While the Slingers committed 6 less turnovers to Hi-Tech Bangkok City, the key statistical difference was the category of field goal percentage, where the Slingers shot 32 to Hi-Tech’s 42%. The Slingers were also out-rebounded 39 to 47 by their opponents.
Slingers ASEAN import Kris Rosales had a rough start, shooting 1 for 11 in the game and managing only 2 points coming off the bench.
The Slingers will now have 4 days to regroup before facing Saigon Heat on 31 October in their 2nd consecutive road game.
-Photo Credit to Kuk Thew