Slingers dethrone Sakers
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
The Singapore Slingers dethroned the defending champions LG Sakers 86-75. The Slingers led from start to finish as the Sakers failed to hit their usual form.
It was a closely contested first quarter as both teams exchanged baskets for the first few minutes of the period.
But then the tides changed for the good of the Slingers as they began to take advantage of the turnovers made by the Sakers.
Midway through the quarter, the Slingers managed to convert three straight three-pointers with Darren Ng, who top scored with 27 points, converting two in a row and the other by Chris Daniel to bring the score to 23-9.
Things then started to hot up as players almost squared off at the end of the quarter, which ended in favour of the Slingers 29-15
In the second quarter, the Slingers continued their brilliant offensive game while the Sakers crumbled even further scoring only a dismal five points in the whole 10 minutes. Their first field goal came halfway through the quarter by Ivan Johnson, who scored 17 points in the game.
They couldn't take advantage of being sent to the charity stripe as they only hit 1/9 of their free-throws in the quarter.
The Slingers worked hard on defence and their offence went really well making most of their shots. None of the shots by the Sakers were left uncontested and they had a body each time on someone in order to get to the loose balls.
The Sakers improved a bit in the third quarter and hit their first three-pointer of the game halfway through the period courtesy of Cho Sang Hyun.
Some of the fans were already leaving as the quarter ended 62-40, but the Sakers weren't going down without a fight.
In the fourth quarter, the Sakers came out playing defence with a 1-3-1 formation which worked well. The closest they got was 83-75 but Jason Castro, of the Slingers, who was named MVP of the final, was constantly a threat to the Sakers' defence as he used his speed and quick dribbling to penetrate the defence.
He nailed a runner with less than a minute to play and made a jumper with 30 seconds left to seal the deal and make the score 83-74.
In the group stage, the Sakers had beaten the Slingers 83-70 but this time Slingers' head coach Gordon Mcleod's formula worked to perfection.
"Hard work on defence was to disrupt them and to keep them from scoring as they were a very potent scoring team. They are a very good team but tonight we managed to beat them at their own game with our three-pointers," the head coach told reporters.
"We are very happy as the organisers have taken good care of us and we hope to come back next year to play and defend our title," said Gordon.
In the other game last night, the Darwin Airport Resort All-Stars thrashed the Jordan All-Stars in a lopsided match 88-45.
First placed Slingers walked away with B$20,000 while the Sakers and Darwin Airport Resort All-Stars received B$10,000 and B$5,000 respectively.
(B$ has same value as Singapore Dollars)